The Fibonacci Sequence in Nature

fibronacci in nature

Originally found at www.fantasticforwards.com/the-magnificent-nautilus-shell

The fibonacci spiral appears not only in the perfect nautilus shell…

fibronacci in nature

Fibonacci Irene, Imgur.com.

…but in events and objects viewed from afar.

fibronacci universe

The Whirlpool Galaxy, Space Telescope.

An energy system in the shape of a fibonacci moves with limited losses. Hurricane Irene.

What is the Fibonacci Sequence?

fibronacci spiral
The mathematics of the golden ratio and of the Fibonacci sequence are intimately interconnected. The Fibonacci sequence is a recursive sequence,  generated by adding the two previous numbers in the sequence.: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987…

Here is a good video explanation from SciShow. He points out that plant sections, petals, and rows of seeds almost always count up to a Fibonacci number.

fibonacci spiral
If you were to draw a line starting in the right bottom corner of a golden rectangle within the first square, and then touch each succeeding multiple square’s outside corners, you would create a fibonacci spiral.

How Common Is The Fibonacci Sequence in Nature?

fibronacci in nature

Anglerfish Ovary, www.dailymail.co.uk.

The fibonacci appears in the smallest, to the largest objects in nature. It is a way for information to flow in a very efficient manner. Here, a microscopic view of the ovary of an Anglerfish. Nikon’s It’s a Small World Competition.

Spirals are the most common galaxy shape. Galaxies group together in superclusters and superclusters group together in walls. These walls or filaments of numerous superclusters, gravitationally-bound and separated by large areas of void, are the largest known structures in the universe.

The Milky Way’s dust obstructs us from seeing the depth of these filaments or sheets, so we do not yet know the exact shape of these walls. More information can be found at www.spacetelescope.org.

Cancer cell division. This composite confocal micrograph uses time-lapse microscopy to show a cancer cell (HeLa) undergoing cell division (mitosis). The DNA is shown in red, and the cell membrane is shown in cyan. The round cell in the centre has a diameter of 20 microns.

This is part 1 of three-part video series from “recreational mathematician” Vi Hart, explaining the mathematics behind the Fibonacci Sequence. Part 1 shows how you can draw the sequence and shows how it actually on pinecones and pineapples.

18 Amazing Examples of the Fibonacci Sequence in Nature

1) Chicken Egg

fibonacci in nature

Image originally found at www.holistichouseplans.com.

Fibonacci as starting point of life.

2) Romanesque Broccoli

fibronacci in nature

Picture of a Romanesque Cauliflower. Red / Flickr.

Romanesque broccoli is a striking example of the fibonacci. Each nub is a Fibonacci spiral of its own.

3) Aloe Plant

fibonacci in nature

Spiral within an aloe plant. brewbooks / Flickr.

Spiral aloe. Numerous cactus display the Fibonacci spiral. You can see how each set of leaves spiral outward.

4) Buena Mulata Pepper

This pepper has grown into a Fibonacci Spiral.

5) Sunflower

fibonacci in nature

Photo of a sunflower. Credit to The Museum Of Play.

Sunflower. www.thestrong.org. The Fibonacci spiral is a little more subtle in this photo, but you can still see the spiral in the unopened disk florets.

6) Rock Daisy

fibonacci in nature

You can see the center of the flower has a spiral. Sid Mosdell / Flickr.

Marlborough Rock Daisy by Sid Mosdell. Again, the spiral is visible in the disk florets of the flower.

7) Pinecone

fibonacci in nature
All pinecones display a fibonacci sequence. The umbo on pinecones increase in size as you move outward, displaying a Fibonacci spiral.

8) Panther Chameleon

Heads or tails? #pantherchameleon #fibonaccispiral #fibonaccisequence #spiral #chameleonart #petsofinstagram #chameleonsofig #chameleon

A post shared by Chameleon Mountain (@chameleon_mountain) on

The tail of these creatures naturally curls into a Fibonacci spiral.

9) American Giant Millipede

American giant millipede. The fibonacci is thought to be the design of least resistance.

10) Monarch Caterpillar

fibonacci in nature

This photograph was originally found at “natureremains.blogspot.com/2009/09/journey.html”.

A monarch caterpillar about to form a chrysalis.

11) Pangolin

fibonacci in nature

A Pangolin inits protective shell. Credit to Hans Breuer / Field Herp Forum.

Fibonacci and armor = very safe. The Pangolin is able to protect its soft underbelly by forming a Fibonacci spiral.

12) Double Fibonacci

This flower exhibits two Fibonacci spirals. You can faintly see how the spirals form from the center of the opened disk florets.

13) Koru

Fibonacci in spores. A fiddlehead or koru.

14) Snails And Fingerprints

fibonacci in nature
Snails and fingerprints. Images are from www.123rf.com, and originally “artcatalyst.blogspot.com/2011/04/fibonacci-sequence-mathematics-nature.html” (respectively). Both have a distinct Fibonacci spiral.

15) Famous Art

fibonacci in nature

Originally found on “artcatalyst.blogspot.com/2011/04/fibonacci-sequence-mathematics-nature.html”.

Fibonacci in “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.” It seems even famous art can’t escape the Fibonacci sequence.

16) Falling Water

fibonacci in nature

Spiral of water from an elephant. David Martin / Fibonacci-seri.es.

Water falls into the shapes of a Fibonacci during numerous events. Another example would be a vortex.

17) Population

fibronacci in nature

The population density and comparison with the Fibonacci sequence. From Ear Elephant: Fibonacci Sequence.

One blogger has applied the Fibonacci sequence to population density and land mass. In Africa the majority of highly populated cities fall on or close to where the spiral predicts.

18) Shell Fossil

fibonacci in nature

Photo from Shell Fossil. John Raffaghello II / 123RF.

A Shell Fossil with the Fibonacci sequence. You can see as the shell grew, a Fibonacci spiral was formed.

Who was Fibonacci?

The Fibonacci sequence is named after Leonardo of Pisa, who was known as Fibonacci. Though Fibonacci first introduced the sequence to the western world in 1202, it had been noted by Indian mathematicians as early as the sixth century.

The Fibonacci defines how the density of branches increases up a tree trunk, the arrangement of leaves on a stem, and how a pine cone’s scales are arranged. Yet you will not see the Fibonacci everywhere, as nature has many different methods and shades of survival.

Hang Fibonacci In Your Home

These prints from Art.com can be printed at any size you like—they’ll frame them for you or you can print directly to canvas. We’ve had really good luck with their prints; shipping is fast and the prints are good quality. These start at around $25 each.

This is “The Great Wave,” by Katsushika Hokusai. A stunning example of the Fibonacci spiral in art.

Fibonacci Spiral by Seymour. If you like a more simplistic look, this drawing of the Fibonacci spiral may be more your style.

Nautilus Shell by Babar760. A natural depiction of the Fibonacci spiral, great for someone who enjoys math and nature.

Some stock traders are using the Fibonacci sequence as an attempt to “crack” the stock market, by selling or buying when certain sequences appear on stock charts. Not recommended!

There’s also a Fibonacci betting system. The idea here is to start with an even money bet, like red/black in roulette. You keep moving up the Fibonacci sequence every time you lose a bet on the idea that, eventually, you’ll win and recoup your money. Also not recommended!

The Best Books about Fibonacci and the Fibonacci Sequence

The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World’s Most Astonishing Number by Mario Livio

Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah and Richard Campbell

The Golden Section: Nature’s Greatest Secret by Scott Olsen

The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers by Alfred Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann

Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D’Agnese and John O’Brien (children’s book, named a Mathical Honor Book April 2015)

Fascinating! A must watch!
Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin explores hidden properties of that weird and wonderful set of numbers, the Fibonacci series.

Check out this Custom Fibonacci Spiral Generator – chromatism.net

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Author: Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building.

Comments
  1. http://books.google.com/books?ei=h7koUdOFMYyq0AHG14CYBA&id=Qq4gAAAAMAAJ&dq=jay+hambidge&jtp=12

    http://books.google.com/books?ei=h7koUdOFMYyq0AHG14CYBA&id=Qq4gAAAAMAAJ&dq=jay+hambidge&jtp=17

    (note reference to eleventh proposition of the second book of Euclid)

    Jay Hambidge in the 1920s described ‘Dynamic Symmetry’ and the ‘Whirling Square’ being found in the Greek vase, the Parthenon, and in nature (like the shell and the sunflower head). The Dover reprint cover has an unfortunate, misleading illustration of static symmetry.

  2. another example of the glory and wonder of our God! That is simply amazing… I don’t know what else to say!

  3. Pingback: VII. Hunua Falls – AOTEAROA

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