If you look at a panoramic portrait of the universe (pictured above), it looks shockingly similar to a close-up, zoomed-in snapshot of neurons in the brain. The glowing nodes are entire galaxies filled with hundreds of billions of stars stretching out like limbs to other galaxies. The brain too has nodes, which are clusters of neurons stretching out through the cellular arms of dendrites and axons to other neurons.

And it’s not just human brains and the cosmos that share similarities in appearance. Networks of tree roots (via Harvard University), ant colonies (via the World Economic Forum), glowing city lights as viewed from space (Pinterest has good pictures), and much more all exhibit similarly networked, node-and-conduit shapes. As life grows more and more complex it seems to take the same form. Whether information is transferred by water molecules through roots or the mandibles of ants through tunnels, it moves from node to node according to the needs of its system.

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