That Time a Guy Tried to Build a Utopia for Mice and it all Went to Hell

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In 1968, an expert on animal behaviour and population control called John B. Calhoun built what was essentially a utopia for mice that was purpose built to satisfy their every need. Despite going out of his way to ensure the inhabitants of his perfect mouse society never wanted for anything, within 2 years virtually the entire population was dead. So what happened?

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46 Responses

  1. W5NJR James says:

    Civilization hasn't improved life but only made it more miserable

  2. James Ticknor says:

    The Matrix predicted this 20 years ago. It was the Architect's first failure.

  3. lil lones says:

    This is a preview of communism

  4. A H says:

    Humans will never stop mating 😀

  5. Mitch R says:

    They developed liberalism and feminism

  6. H.S.M. says:

    "Slightly more self aware creatures than mice…"
    Yeah, I would argue with that.

  7. Steven says:

    2:42 I wonder if the National Institute of Mental Health had any secrets…

  8. Shadownoob Noobslayer says:

    he gave animals socialism and they die nothing new…

  9. Zachary Silas says:

    I want to try them with other animals, preferably cats and dogs. Or maybe bunnies or squirrels.

  10. vapour KL says:

    You talk too fast mate, please slow down a bit. Are you in a hurry to go somewhere mate?

  11. Midlife Daydreams says:

    If you take away predators, there becomes no need to overbreed to compensate for loss. Mice are of the lowest on the food chain, so they go nuts with the breeding. Take that away, there's no need. Look at humans, what are we drawn to? What is the top story on the news….chaos. Imagine how useless life would become if there were no roller coasters. It's not the fear that sustains us. It's the rush we get when we survive. When we triumph. People watch football for the rush of a win. People compete in all sports, for the challenge. Zero challenges=pointless existence….even the mice know that.

  12. Daniel Balcazar says:

    so they only way they had success was by giving them meaning in a way that they could be creative but our society is actually losing this more and more with the introduction of AI

  13. Manami McNair says:

    He provided infinite water and food, not entertainment. That is not providing a “utopia”. If you put mice alone in a room with no enrichment, they go crazy and die

  14. ElGringo says:

    Central planning doesn't even work for mice… hmmm, maybe we should continue to let government build our future for us! No lessons learned!

  15. TheLowman9 says:

    australia woukd disagree with this

  16. Rebekah Hobbs says:

    Can anyone help me? Why does the overpopulation issue keep coming up if there was more than enough space in the mouse enclosure? Wouldn't it have only been overpopulation if the mice had run out of space or resources?

  17. sam vexez says:

    explains lgbtq

  18. Daniel Jamieson says:

    Probably what's going to happen in that mega city being planned in the UAE.

  19. Peter Ian Tambasacan says:

    akala ko Johnny Sin

  20. Jordan says:

    Mice ended up dividing into groups, hating each other, killing randomly, isolating from society, completely breaking down their families, and willfully putting themselves into situations causing their own suffering. Replace mice with humans and see how much it reflects our society today. Jesus is the answer to a fallen world.

  21. Benoit Bricet says:

    Somebody send this video to the Japanese government.

    It seems like those mices where ahead of their time.

  22. Spicy Flavor Tide Pods says:

    So what he's saying is that we're the mice and the purge is coming? I don't know the whole thing sounds pretty gnarly to me.

  23. trever Brand says:

    Almost exactly like america if we started in the 1960s to now we are at the very start of attacking eachother for no reason.

  24. Rocket Boy says:

    The documentary "We live in public" is like this.

  25. Rick in Texas says:

    This study is fascinating. It definitely applies to modern day America. Too many people are suffering because they don’t have valuable work ethics.

  26. carmichael13 says:


  27. J M says:

    The lesson I took from this is that the perfect, Utopian society that certain groups and individuals today seek to create is destined to end in disaster..

  28. Gabe Tabor says:

    All these morons are convinced that they could create the utopia.

  29. Joseph Kessler says:

    Sounds like modern day America

  30. Joseph Kessler says:

    Sounds like modern day America

  31. jackobthesnakob says:

    This is why civilization collapses.

  32. David Vaughn says:

    Seems like socialism doesn’t work in mice either

  33. away86 says:

    I am wondering if the limited genetic pool provided by the original four mice is partly to blaim. I would imaginne that in the wilde, coming in contact with different populations of mice may spice things up and increase the chance of a different behaviour that might be beneficial to increasing (or at least not dropping) numbers.

  34. Planted Basedman says:

    Hij zit gewoon op het invoer rooster van de eu en het wef. Dit is gewoon uitrollen wat er al in de koker zat. En er komt nog veel meer mensen geen verrassingen.

  35. polemeros says:

    All organisms are designed to survive AGAINST the environment. Take away stress and struggle and you have collapse. All utopias are a dead-end.

  36. Sari Beep o.O says:

    … I find it funny 'they' intentionally stated the wrong conclusion. It wasn't overpopulation, as they still had plenty of room. The problem was they were given everything they needed without having to work for it. It's basically the dynamic of how the beginning stages of communism destroys civilization… mice given every thing they want do what again? Form gangs and kill each other for reason, start having sex just to have sex with whoever, abandon their young, sound familiar? I'd imagine if there was a way to reward the female mice for having babies, they would have kept popping them out to keep their creature comforts.

  37. Roddey Frost says:

    A crisis of purpose… something on the horizon for humans (or you could argue it is already here).

  38. Aarón Melgar says:

    Terrible thumbnail. Yuck.

  39. epenies says:

    We need an agent Smith to fight in order to find purpose in our lives (chasing a goal post to which we will never really arrive).

  40. Toby Clegg says:

    how did he make the leap to a comment on overpopulation when the mice didn't get even close to capacity? surely the take-away is that 'having all your needs met' is the death knell of a society?

  41. PDSwag says:

    I think the results are very relevant to humans, however I disagree with Calhoun’s conclusions that the societal breakdown exhibited by the mice was due to overpopulation. As he himself pointed out, the enclosure had plenty of resources for more than 3,000 mice to survive, but the mice population only reached a maximum of 600 or so.

    As others have pointed out, I think this experiment really shows the importance of purpose in life, rather than the effects of overpopulation. When a living creature isn’t required to work for necessary resources, it finds trivial things to be invested in. It eventually grows bored with those things, leading to a devoid and meaningless existence.

  42. 1YinYang1 says:

    I think they were just bored.

  43. Charlie Chuckleberry says:

    Mouse Utopia must of had a corrupt government system, and the men went MGTOW to escape it.

  44. DMD TECH says:

    Its really crazy to think about because if humans put into the same situation would lead to the exact same thing all craziness breaking lose or a government to control it and then it will always break down due to internal greediness

  45. Barry Ferguson says:


  46. Today I Found Out says:

    If you liked this video you'll almost certainly enjoy our in depth video: Why It Sucks To Be Rich

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