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An Underground Metropolis


[YouTube - Link]


From an episode of "Ants! Nature's Secret Power" we see the amazing underground metropolis built by the industrious insects. To see how large and complex the living city of the ants are the scientists poured cement so as to solidify the structure and allow them the chance to dig it up. What you'll see will amaze and fascinate you.

via - Dark Roasted Blend

I can't believe that just destroyed it like that. It's amazing what those ants built, and it was just completely ruined. This video makes me angry.
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That was waaay awesome, I was well and truly blown away I've seen this done before but nothing as epic as that. And don't worry everybody. No ants were harmed. The credit crunch hit them hard and they were evicted for late rent payments before the cement went in.
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Yip, their all dead now... but hey..

Their useless study of it.. totally justifies everything.

Very cool to see the colony, but sadistic as I might be.. I don't think I could kill a few million ants to see where they lived.
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To all who are commenting on how horrible it is that they destroyed the colony.

They baited all of the ants out first, and stored them while they poured cement.

After studying the cement cast they made of the tunnels, they built another cast on top of it, put it in the ground, and put all the ants back in it.

Yes, some amount of harm done, but it was put back together, and it was just one colony for science.
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You care about ants?
In almost any production process (for our standard of living) any way of life if harmed or killed.
Sorry for my english...
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So killing them to build the place you're sitting in now is justified but once for scientific purposes isn't? Please! These ant colonies were all over Costa Rica when I was there in January.
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It is amazing, but it bothers me that they destroyed the metropolis. Maybe wyrda's right and they did save the colony... but still... I doubt a bunch of scientists could build what they just studied along with the fungus farms, trash heaps, etc. to make a thriving ant colony.

I understand the want to know what it's like.. but we have the technology to see that without damaging the colony. Maybe that particular expedition didn't, I don't know if you can get those machines that look like ultra-sounds for the ground or cameras on bendy sticks for the same price as several tons of cement...
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I agree with Nat and most posters: "the scientists NEED to pour cement to find out ..." he talks like if we don't soon get this figured out, all hell could break loose
- way too much $ is spent by "scientists" (like that term deserves us all to fall to our knees in praise of them) who "study" things for what?! the betterment of what ? we can't even run our own "colonies" (note the recent fiasco/global-lie being uncovered with these bailouts), so what purpose is served by digging up the ant hill - so there's ducts to ventilate... great - move on to ventilating the growing financial crisis where NO ONE seems to know what is going on, how to quell it, or when it will go away... meanwhile, I see NO change in behavior - the malls are FULL of people running around like Ants.
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Why would you be worried about one colony of ants out of hundreds of thousands? Yes, we can learn from the ants and other animals in nature perhaps how to build better places for us to live.
And gtron, this has nothing to do with what you are spewing about. Please find the right place for your hatred, this isn't it.
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Next time you pour poison over a bed of fire ants, fumigate for fleas or roaches, swat a fly, step on a spider, come back here and tell me how bad it was that they killed all these ants.

Hypocrites.
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These types of ants are super fascinating. There is a fantastic colony at the zoo in Washington, D.C. that you can view because they're behind glass. You can see the garbage dumps and the fungus they grow and the queen and everything. It's truly amazing and was probably my favorite part of our recent trip to D.C.

Fun fact: Leaf cutter ant queens can have sex, store the sperm, and then impregnate themselves over and over years down the road!

Here's an antcam for your viewing pleasure: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/kids-only/naturecams/antcam/

I wonder how many people were eating bacon sandwiches and other equally repulsive flesh-foods as they made comments about the poor disrupted ant colony?
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ARRGGGHHH! This bothers me...

Yes, it is Amazing! I thought it was amazing before they destroyed it. I really had a hard time appreciating the destruction of such a facinating structure.

Like watching NY get dug up by some huge monster...
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So I'm totally in support of animal rights and the good treatment of the creatures in this world, but I somehow doubt that sacrificing this one colony (one they made a great effort to save nonetheless) is somehow some major travesty to nature.

There is an unfathomable number of ants in this world and those that died created hardly a dent in the population I'm sure. If they saved the majority, give them a few months and they'll have an entirely new and equally amazing underground city built again.

There are many animal rights issues to be worried about in this world, I don't think this one ant colony is one of them. And besides that, this is an amazing study into animal behavior and organic habitation growth. We could learn alot about developing human habitation more efficiently from these creatures.
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Mmmmm... flesh-food *drool*

I'm sure a lot of ants were killed, but if they're like every other ant out there, they built themselves another home in no time. It was pretty interesting to see just how complex the ant city is though.
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'it looks as though it was designed by an architect...a single mind'

yeah - 'cos we all know exactly what a consciousness built out of millions of individuated semi-autonomous mobile units looks like don't we. now to say that the colony computes or has an output is something different. but a conscioussness? naaa.

BTW - to those who are worrying about the ants' welfare, in terms of percentage of overall attrition to the species it's probably the equivalent of knocking down a single squirrel in your car. it's the ants' world. we just happen to live in it...
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I thought this was incredibly cool. I strongly considered being a Myrmecologist for many years, and Bert Holldobler is one of my heros. One of the primary reasons I chose not to do this sort of work was because the best way to get information about ants is to destroy their colonies, and I thought that i would make me too sad to do it. I don't think it's wrong, because I don't think that the ants are capable of feeling hurt and I don't think that the ecology of the pasture they were in will be much changed, since a new colony should be back up to that size in a year or two, but it is sad.

Also, as far as whether this accomplishes anything: knowing how ant ventilation systems, toxin control systems and the like work could give human engineers some ideas about how to design human buildings or even human cities in such a way that they can stay warm or cool with minimal fossil fuel use. Because ant organization is radically decentralized, ants are a great model for market systems and decentralized computer programming. Google's search algorithms are based in part on bee foraging patterns. Ants are also used by some economists as market models, so it's conceivable that understanding how they work could help avert future financial crises. Not to mention the obvious and less romantic use that knowing how ants work helps us disrupt the colonies of pest ants and invasive species without totally destroying the ecologies around them.
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Very cool! I for one am willing to sacrifice a few ants in order to see this. I wish someone would pick the concrete structure up and put it in a museum near me somewhere so I can get a good look at it.
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@Baggy

That was the most intelligent comment I have seen all day.

They are ants, people. This is an animal that is rightly considered a pest in most places. I think the advancement of human knowledge/understanding is far more important than the fate of an anthill.
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I'm all for not killing ants but the death of one collony although trajic will not truely hurt the population.. However it deeply hurt my soul!!!
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