How Do Ants Know What to Do?

A colleague of mine forwarded a link to this fine presentation by Deborah Gordon on ant colonies. In this presentation she clearly shows that ants are not directed by the queen, but simply follow their own simple rules. The behavior of an ant colony changes according to the size of the colony, simply because individual ants change their own behavior on the basis of the number of other ants that they meet underway.

One thing that I found particulary interesting is this: ants are quite stupid. They don’t understand what they’re doing and they do things in amazingly dumb ways. Yet, there are 10,000 species of ants and they cover almost the entire earth. That’s not so bad for such a stupid creature! So, don’t feel bad about being stupid sometimes, or working for an organization full of idiots. There’s hope for everyone.

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