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Looking at ants to find answers about aggression


Looking at ants to find answers about aggression

Article from CU DENVER TODAY by Michael Davidson, January 23, 2017

 

Ants are pretty smart—smart enough that humans study their collective intelligence to draw lessons about how to respond to traffic jams, create efficient computer networks and understand how social media might turn peaceful protesters into a violent mob.

But an individual ant, that’s a different story.


Graduate school student Andrew Bubak, left, and Professor Michael Greene


“An ant is kind of dumb, honestly. It’s good at its job, it assesses information around it, it brings food home sometimes, but if you watch an individual ant, you’ll wonder why ants ever made it,” said Michael Greene, PhD, a professor in the University of Colorado Denver’sDepartment of Integrative Biology.

The collective intelligence of ants living in huge colonies is one of the reasons they made it, and it’s all the more impressive because ants don’t give or take orders from each other—despite having queens, ants aren’t hierarchical, and colonies don’t have a central authority. Crucial decisions like when to go to battle with nearby rival colonies come down to the decisions and actions of individual ants. Yet within minutes, information will spread within colonies, and tens of thousands of ants can take action.

To read the entire article in CU DENVER TODAY please click here.