We’ve written before about ant farms, where they grow food deep underground and even make their own pesticides. Now it turns out that ants also run a kind of Olympic race in order to share information about where to forage for food. This is still more evidence that, as evolution progresses and if man remains self-destructive, the insects are the ones that will eventually rule.
Bjorn Carey writes in livescience.com that this is one of the first discoveries of formal instruction between an insect teacher and pupil. When a female worker ant sets out for a food in a place where she’s found it before, she takes along another ant. Since the second ant doesn’t know where they’re going, the leader ant teaches her through what might be called tandem running.
The follower pauses every once and a while to search for landmarks, so she can find the route on her own next time. When she’s ready to continue, she signals the leader by tapping on her hind legs and they both set off again. If the gap between them gets too large, the leader slows down and the follower speeds up.
This is the kind of cooperation that earns gold medals for human teams in the Olympics.
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