Ant city excavated

The above is a pretty interesting video detailing a process in which scientists poured wet concrete into an giant anthill. They waited a bit and then removed all the dirt surrounding the now solidified concrete and were able to get a good view into the structure and architecture of this gigantic ant metropolis. What was impressive was that the design and construction of this ant city — carried out by numerous worker ants — seemed as if it had been designed by a single architect, a mind that had some kind of oversight of the larger project.

This is, of course, impossible, because as we all know, ants are stupid. The other day, I saw an ant and I said, “Hey, ant, can you tell me the chemical structure of chlorophyll?” He didn’t even answer; he just wandered off. Then I saw another ant and I said, “Hey ant — what movie starring comic songsmith Weird Al Yankovic also featured Michael Richards (Seinfeld’s “Kramer”) among its cast?” The ant just kept climbing up a tree. I was like, “Don’t ignore me! Get back here you cocksucker! The answer is ‘UHF’!”

So we’re left with a conundrum. How can a population of feebleminded creatures design a habitat of such complexity that it is clearly beyond their individual intelligences? Do the ants have some kind of bizarre and complex communication system by which the bits of information possessed by individual ants can somehow be combined into a group ant intelligence?

Can these questions offer insights into our own human intelligence? If an individual human designs a complex building or structure, it’s not considered all that unusual. But in that case, who is doing the designing? A single human entity, or the brain, a collection of billions of neurons grouped together in networks which perform specific calculations which are then passed on to other parts of the brain? Is our brain really nothing more than a swarming collection of ants, writhing in the dirt, crawling through filth, antennas ever quivering?

Or, dig this: are we — individual humans — nodes in a larger intelligence, a super advanced ant colony? Are we merely parts of a machine whose complexity is so vast and overwhelming that we can’t begin to comprehend it?

3 Responses to “Ant city excavated”


  1. John Saleeby

    Why you gotta mess with them ants? Shit!

  2. John Saleeby

    Them ants ain’t botherin’ nobody! They’re go’ bite yo’ Scientific ass!

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