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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Ants are prodigious diggers, constructing elaborate nests with multiple layers connected by an intricate network of tunnels, sometimes reaching depths of 25 feet.

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...Now, a team of scientists from Caltech has used X-ray imaging to capture the process of how ants construct their tunnels. The scientists found that the ants have evolved to intuitively sense which grain particles they can remove while maintaining the stability of the structure, much like removing individual blocks in a game of Jenga. The team described their work in a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists interested in collective behavior have been studying ants for decades. That's because, as a group, ants act like a form of granular media. A few ants spaced well apart behave like individual ants. But pack enough of them closely together and they act more like a single unit, exhibiting both solid and liquid properties. You can pour fire ants from a teapot, for instance, or the ants can link together to build towers or floating rafts. Ants may be tiny critters with tiny brains, but these social insects are capable of collectively organizing themselves into a highly efficient community to ensure that the colony survives....



... the ants have evolved to intuitively sense which grain particles they can remove while maintaining the stability of the structure ...

Well, that was a few million years of worthwhile evolution.

#1 | Posted by LampLighter at 2021-08-31 12:17 PM | Reply

I've heard they (or some species of ants) shore up their tunnels with their saliva or mud, much as human underground miners brace their tunnels. It's amazing they know how and wheere to do this.

#2 | Posted by jakester at 2021-08-31 12:19 PM | Reply

From the article...

... "We didn't interview any ants to ask if they know what they're doing ...

I like it when researchers show a sense of humor....

#3 | Posted by LampLighter at 2021-08-31 12:20 PM | Reply

#3
And gently done.

#4 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis at 2021-08-31 05:56 PM | Reply

They take lawn clippings and lay them across the soil in the anthill top like fibres to help it bind together .

#5 | Posted by Scotty at 2021-08-31 08:26 PM | Reply

...to help it bind together.

I try to assist with Borax and Diazinon.

#6 | Posted by REDIAL at 2021-08-31 09:05 PM | Reply

I try to assist with Borax and Diazinon.

#6 | Posted by REDIAL

Why not pour molten metal and call it art.
www.youtube.com

#7 | Posted by Scotty at 2021-08-31 11:04 PM | Reply

I'm just a fan of chemistry.

#8 | Posted by REDIAL at 2021-08-31 11:06 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

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