Ant’thropology – Pt. 2


As I sit here during this monsoon, I watch the ants work themselves into a frenzy getting into the cat food. You see, they have learned that the cats get fed sometime during the day. So they do a raid-like swarm of the cat food bowls a couple of hours after I put food in there. I’m scared to go near them, maybe it is red ant discrimination, maybe they really are fire ants and would love to eat my toes if I gave them the chance.

I wanted to find the articles that I am going to talk about, but I didn’t know which ones I had read. When I see an ant article, I read it. Don’t sue me for plagiarism, just realize that I forgot where I got the information.

Basically, there is the amazing news about ant super colonies that have formed around the globe. They’ve placed together ants who typically live thousands of miles apart together. These ants not only were able to recognize each other, but they acted cooperatively as well. And oddly enough, the same ants were still kind of jerks to nearby ant populations that were not of the same species.

So an explanation came out regarding the super colonies. They are theorizing that as humans moved around, ants have tagged along with them. They are also speculating that ants have adapted to the abundant resources available throughout urban life, whereas ant colonies used to number around 50 ants per colony. Now they have colonies of thousands that can span whole city blocks.

The other day, I took my friend to buy a bicycle from a town on the way to the house warming party of two awesome friends. We stopped at the guy’s house to pick up the bike and as soon as I got tired of hearing the bicycle talk, I zoned out on ant talk. There were these huge black ants that were mesmerizing to watch. They seemed to walk randomly, but if you watched a few of them from a distance, they had a walking pattern. Also, they courteously walked around these much smaller black ants without interference.

So, I put my finger down in front of one, to see how they react to humans. The first ant sniffed my finger but crawled on me anyway, so I let him do that for a little bit, but then it decided that I was not food, and jumped off. The next few ants on the same trail that encountered my finger automatically avoided crawling onto it.

They have done many experiments now that show the ability of atoms to instantaneously communicate with one another, no matter the distance. I wonder whether on some level, ants can do this. I know that we’ve been using the whole chemical trail explanation, but I feel like I need to do more reading on it. Can those beautiful little antennas do more than what we’ve imagined so far?

Some people liken ant society to communism, I think that ants are just highly evolved to anticipate the needs of one another and act on them accordingly. Ants are not forced to do the labor or share the wealth. They just do it because they want to do what is best for the colony. Yes, I say want, because they are hardwired to want this.

I think that people could learn a lot from having an active desire to love one another and be aware of each other’s needs and feelings. In my life, there are many times when I have reacted negatively to someone and felt bad about it later. So now, I have this either say something nice or ignore them policy.

Within a few minutes of speaking to people, I can typically figure them out just enough to know what makes them tick, what they want to hear, and what they need to hear. This is a skill I developed while watching ants. Because of watching ants, I learned to watch people. I feel bad for the younger, isolated and depressed me, but I am grateful for the solitude that allowed me to develop the skill of seeing into people. I still can’t be around people who actively project negative energy without feeling a bit sick. But I still try to be around and help.

Like an ant, I want to anticipate the needs of others and meet them so that everyone I come in contact with walks away happy. Much easier said than done because I still have a hard time interacting with people that irritate me.
But, you can have incompatible personalities and still be courteous to each other. You don’t have to be best friends, although, conflict is petty and a waste of time.

Like an ant, I want to not be afraid of giant raindrops and continue to operate as planned despite the weather. I want to become a queen and earn my wings so that I can scout a good location for myself and my friends to live.

Like an ant, I want to see what it feels like to have the lowliest role in the colony but still know that I am a champ because everyone’s work helps everyone else.

Like an ant, I want to carry multiple times my weight, and run up to help my brother get that last bread crumb back to our nest.

Ants do disappoint me, I think in the next installment, I’m going to attempt to figure out why they fight. Especially when they are so good at chemically communicating.

A Fiery sunset on a sad planet
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