Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ants? A Lesson in Co-operation

From The Scientific American;

Secrets of Ant Rafts Revealed

Jun 12, 2014 |By Emma Marris and Nature magazine

To negotiate floods and cross streams, fire ants band together — literally — linking together to form rafts and bridges in a feat of social cooperation and biophysics...David Hu, a mechanical engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology...and his team found that the ants had grabbed hold of one another with adhesive pads on their legs, which they stretched out to create pockets of air. They also tended to orient themselves perpendicularly to one another, distributing their weight and creating a light, buoyant structure. The formation seems to take advantage of the ants’ different sizes, with smaller ants slotting neatly in between larger ones to add more connections. Each ant averaged 14 connections to fellow ants. The study is published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

ant rafts

Fire ants cluster together after a heavy rain. 
Credit: Junglecat via Wikimedia Commons

Seems like some of the political denizens of DC could learn a thing or two from these intrepid creatures. Or maybe not.

Democrats and Republicans More Ideologically Divided than in the Past

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