Desert Ants "Count" Their Steps.

Harald Wolf at the University of Ulm, Germany and colleagues wondered how desert ants can find their way back home. (Previously, scientists found that ants use the sun as a compass, but this would be useless in the desert).

When they shortened the ants' legs, the insects have trouble finding home. When they put stilts on the ants' legs, the insects traveled further and had to backtrack looking for home.

So, Harald and colleagues concluded that ants have an internal pedometer: they "count" (well, kind of) their steps!

Wolf says that the findings show that ants have an internal system that somehow keeps track of now many the steps they have taken, though he is quick to point out that the insects probably cannot "count" as such.

He suspects that the ants' automatic step counter is part of their nervous system and that it gets reset each time they return to the nest.

Link - via digg


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