My prime interests are in evolution and development. I use the cellular slime molds as a tool to seek an understanding of those twin disciplines.
There are good reasons why natural selection has become widely accepted as an explanation of evolutionary development. When applied to mammals and other large animals, it fits perfectly. But we cannot assume that all evolutionary steps arise from selection, particularly when looking at smaller animals.
Any object, whether animate or inanimate, will have a size. Airplanes, boats, or musical string instruments vary in size just like animals and plants, and in all cases, their size and their material construction are totally different matters even though they affect one another.
The sudden appearance of mushrooms after a summer rain is one of the more impressive spectacles of the plant world.
When, as an undergraduate, I began experiments on these slime molds in 1940, only one other person, Kenneth Raper, was working on them at that time. In fact, he discovered the model species Dictyostelium discoideum, which is the species used in the majority of the experimental work today.
Changes in size are not a consequence of changes in shape, but the reverse: changes in size often require changes in shape. To put it another way, size is a supreme regulator of all matters biological. No living entity can evolve or develop without taking size into consideration. Much more than that, size is a prime mover in evolution.