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J Theor Biol. 2001 Sep 7;212(1):47-56.

Link between truncated fractals and coupled oscillators in biological systems.

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  • 1Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.


This article aims at providing a new theoretical insight into the fundamental question of the origin of truncated fractals in biological systems. It is well known that fractal geometry is one of the characteristics of living organisms. However, contrary to mathematical fractals which are self-similar at all scales, the biological fractals are truncated, i.e. their self-similarity extends at most over a few orders of magnitude of separation. We show that nonlinear coupled oscillators, modeling one of the basic features of biological systems, may generate truncated fractals: a truncated fractal pattern for basin boundaries appears in a simple mathematical model of two coupled nonlinear oscillators with weak dissipation. This fractal pattern can be considered as a particular hidden fractal property. At the level of sufficiently fine precision technique the truncated fractality acts as a simple structure, leading to predictability, but at a lower level of precision it is effectively fractal, limiting the predictability of the long-term behavior of biological systems. We point out to the generic nature of our result.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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