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Amazing ant colony


This remarkable video segment from a Science channel show on ants came through Digg today:
The structure covers 538 square feet and travels 26 feet into the earth. In it’s construction, the colony moved 40 tons of soil. Billions of ant loads of soil were brought to the surface. Each load weighed four times as much as the worker ant, and in human terms, was carried over 1/2 mile to the surface.

In the video, the scientists pour ten tons of liquid concrete into the ant colony, wait several weeks for it to set then excavate it. Amazing! [YouTube via Digg]

They lured all the ants away to a new, better colony location using a mixture of watermelon, honey and chocolate syrup. They actually counted and weighed every ant from the original colony to assure themselves and PETA that all of the ants made the transition to the new colony safely. They lost less than one-half of one percent of the ants in the process - an amazing feat in of itself, I think.

Once they removed the concrete structure from the original colony, they recreated the original colony using wax and plaster. The ants were lured back and have successfully resumed their work.
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Ants come in three quantities: too many, way too many, and bazillions.

Killing off one colony (for real science no less) hardly makes a difference to the world ant population, and if there was any nearby ant colonies, they'd fight until one was eliminated anyways, so get over it all ready.

People waste sympathy on the stupidest things here on Neatorama (which is part of it's charm).
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above and beyond, is what i'd call it, adam. you just don't expect that kind of care and concern from scientists these days. it's always science, science, science. where's the care, the concern, the compassion? hats off to these fine ladies and/or gentleman of science for their fine display of compassion to this intricately built "city-state" of nature. it's good to know that all those (possibly millions of) ant-hours of work were not lost. heck, they're probably even happier in their new state-of-the-art colony of wax and plaster. not to mention the fine vacation they got, complete with all-you-can-eat watermelon, honey and chocolate syrup! hooray for science!
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I'm sure ants all over the world are outraged over this genocide of colony 2456938! Never Forget! *Climbs bride and hangs "TURK 2456938" Banner.

I don't know who's more entertaining, Adam or the Pro-ant activist.
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I like the line that the structure "looks like it has been designed by an architect, a single mind."

This is kind of what the ID crowd mean when they say that things have the appearance of design. You have to make a lot of effort and stretching to explain how the ants would have evolved the ability to make that (much less how they evolved at all)

It's much simpler (and arguably at least as equally plausible) to state that they were created with innate knowledge or instinct to build their elaborate and functional homes.
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It's not the killing of a bunch of insects that bothers me--it's the destruction of something that was so wonderful that it warranted its own documentary. It's truly "a wonder of the world", so let's destroy it so we can admire it even more!? Love that logic.

Tough luck for those ants--maybe the survivors will learn to build a crappy structure next time so we won't admire it enough to wipe them out and destroy their work.
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It is not for us to decide which creatures are significant or not. Destruction of such a marvel of a structure to satisfy one's curiosity just doesn't seem right. And no I'm not a die hard animal/insect lover, nor am I a vegetarian. For all those who criticize us for showing some compassion, I hope that one day when someone/something more powerful has your life in their hands, they will show you the same lack of respect for all things living.
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"above and beyond, is what i’d call it, adam. you just don’t expect that kind of care and concern from scientists these days. it’s always science, science, science. where’s the care, the concern, the compassion?"

Scientists are more respectful of the environment now than ever before. Do you really think standards of care and ethics have moved backwards?!
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It's too late, it happened. Complaining about the ants won't bring them back so let's marvel at how awesome it is and move on with out lives.
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They are ants, dammit. A few million tiny scraps of chitin and squishy stuff out of umpteen trillions of other tiny scraps of chitin and squishy stuff. Yes, it's a very nice colony and all that and yes, it's a bit of a shame that it got filled up, but a colony of that size may well have been a danger or a nuisance to anyone nearby. Cool as it is, comparing effectively non-sentient ants and their fairly impressive colony to the human race is silly. Science is more important than a single ant colony. Indeed, scientific advancement as a whole is probably more important than an awful lot of things. People forget that benefits from scientific advances permeate everything, including your life. Quite a lot of you wouldn't be alive without some very unhappy and very dead animals.
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