This page has been split into TWO PARTS.
This, the first. looks at the Fibonacci numbers and why they appear in various "family trees" and patterns of spirals of leaves and seeds.
The second page then examines why the golden section is used by nature in some detail, including animations of growing plants.
Contents of this Page
The icon means there is a Things to do investigation at the end of the section.
Rabbits, Cows and Bees Family Trees
Let's look first at the Rabbit Puzzle that Fibonacci wrote about and then at two adaptations of it to make it more realistic. This introduces you to the Fibonacci Number series and the simple definition of the whole never-ending series.
The original problem that Fibonacci investigated (in the year 1202) was about how fast rabbits could breed in ideal circumstances.
Suppose a newly-born pair of rabbits, one male, one female, are put in a field. Rabbits are able to mate at the age of one month
so that at the end of its second month a female can produce another pair of rabbits. Suppose that our rabbits never die and that the female always produces one new pair (one male, one female) every month from the second month on. The puzzle that Fibonacci posed was.
- At the end of the first month, they mate, but there is still one only 1 pair.
- At the end of the second month the female produces a new pair, so now there are 2 pairs of rabbits in the field.
- At the end of the third month, the original female produces a second pair, making 3 pairs in all in the field.
- At the end of the fourth month, the original female has produced yet another new pair, the female born two months ago produces her first pair also, making 5 pairs.
The number of pairs of rabbits in the field at the start of each month is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34.