Posts Tagged ‘ants’

Ants and humans

27 June 2012

Did you know that

Only ants and humans are able to “organise themselves into teams” to lift heavy objects [?]

Also, they “call for emergency backup with chemical trail.” BBC Nature

A nice ANT story

20 February 2012

Enemies of ANT should beware of their opponents’ collective memory: “Ants remember their enemy’s scent.”

Ant colonies – one of nature’s most ancient and efficient societies – are able to form a “collective memory” of their enemies, say scientists. When one ant fights with an intruder from another colony it retains that enemy’s odour: passing it on to the rest of the colony. (…) Lead researcher Prof Mark Elgar explained to BBC Nature that all of the ants in the colony were able to draw on the experience of one worker. He described this as collective or “corporate wisdom”.

Ant close-up

14 May 2011

Some lovely close-ups of ants on the BBC website (and more at AntWeb). My favourite one is Camponotus darwinii, which reminds me of a horse. Although this picture is not actually of the ant but a specimen of it on a pin. (Photographer: April Nobile, AntWeb)

As Latour would say, the ant had entered into another mode of existence:

Whatever your metaphysics, you would agree that there must be a nuance between being a horse and having a tiny fraction of the horse existence made visible in the Natural History Museum. The least provocative version of this crossing point is to say that horses benefited from a mode of existence while they were alive, a mode which aimed at reproducing and “enjoying” themselves — enjoyment is Alfred North Whitehead’s expression — and that, at the intersection with paleontologists, some of their bones, hundreds of thousands of years later, happened to enter into another mode of existence once fragments of their former selves had been shunted, so to speak, into paleontological pathways. Let’s call the first mode, subsistence and the second, reference (and let’s not forget that there might be many more than two modes).

Latour, B. (2006). “A Textbook Case Revisited – Knowledge as a Mode of Existence.” [PDF]