Eater 1

Eater 1 (or fishhook[1] or simply eater) was the first discovered eater. It was observed independently by several Life enthusiasts in 1971 as the smallest asymmetric still life.[2] The name "fishhook", which is still occasionally used, was suggested by Clement A. Lessner III and William P. Webb.

Eater 1
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Pattern type Strict still life
Number of cells 7
Bounding box 4×4
Frequency class 11.0
Discovered by Bill Gosper
Year of discovery 1971

Its ability to eat various objects was discovered by Bill Gosper late in 1971.

It only takes four generations to recover from being hit by a glider, making it the fastest-recovering and also smallest glider eater. As such, it appears as a stabilizer at the corner of dozens of oscillators including 36P22, buckaroo, P54 shuttle, pentoad, pre-pulsar shuttle 47, and snacker due to its ability to change the evolution of nearby objects without being affected itself.

The tail and head of the eater can also function as a boat-bit.

This pattern can also be seen as a trans version of the bookend.


Eater 1 is the thirteenth most common still life in Achim Flammenkamp's census, being less common than mango but more common than long barge.[3] It is also the seventeenth most common object on Adam P. Goucher's Catagolue. It is the third most common 7-bit still life, being less common than the long boat but more common than the python.[4] It is the rarest object in Catagolue for which a 2-glider synthesis is known.

Eating reactions

Eater 1 is extremely useful as an eater because in addition to being able to eat gliders, it can also eat blinkers, lightweight spaceships, loaves, middleweight spaceships, pre-beehives, R-bees and many other patterns, as shown below. Its tail can be used as a rock that eats an unnamed 7-cell polyplet. Its pre-beehive eating reaction is used in the period-12 oscillator dinner table.

Some eater 1s about to eat several different objects
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gollark: ++list_supported python
gollark: I could add a ++consume command, that might be fun.
gollark: ++consume humanity
gollark: ++fortune
gollark: Had, I patched it right now.

See also


  1. Robert Wainwright. "Lifeline Volume 2".
  2. Dean Hickerson's oscillator stamp collection. Retrieved on March 14, 2020.
  3. Achim Flammenkamp (September 7, 2004). "Most seen natural occurring ash objects in Game of Life". Retrieved on January 15, 2009.
  4. Adam P. Goucher. "Statistics". Catagolue. Retrieved on June 24, 2016.
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