Eater 1

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Eater 1
Eater 1 image
Pattern type Eater
Number of cells 7
Bounding box 4×4
Discovered by Bill Gosper
Year of discovery 1971

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. The name "fishhook", which is still occasionally used, was suggested by Clement A. Lessner III and William P. Webb.

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.

The tail, and in some orientations 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.[2] It is also the seventeenth most common object on Adam P. Goucher's Catagolue.[3]

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
Download RLE: click here

See also


  1. Robert Wainwright. "Lifeline Volume 2".
  2. Achim Flammenkamp (September 7, 2004). "Most seen natural occurring ash objects in Game of Life". Retrieved on January 15, 2009.
  3. Adam P. Goucher. "Statistics". Catagolue. Retrieved on June 24, 2016.

External links

  • Eater 1 at the Life Lexicon
  • Fishhook at Eric Weisstein's Treasure Trove of Life