Ants Craft Tiny Sponges, Dip Them Into Honey, Then Take The Honey Home

Posted: January 3, 2017 in Amazing and Interesting Stories, Animals, Nature
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New Scientist: Ants may be smarter than we give them credit for. Tool use antsis seen as something brainy primates and birds do, but even the humble ant can choose the right tool for the job.

István Maák at the University of Szeged in Hungary and his team offered two species of funnel ants liquids containing water and honey along with a range of tools that might help them carry this food to their nests.

The ants experimented with the tools and chose those that were easiest to handle and could soak up plenty of liquid, such as bits of sponge or paper, despite them not being found in the insect’s natural environment.

This suggests that ants can take into account the properties of both the tool and the liquid they are transporting. It also indicates they can learn to use new tools – even without big brains.

Big brains big schmains, huh? Ants don’t care. Just using sponges like little bosses. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times – we’re going to find out one day that animals are much much smarter than we ever dreamed. I just hope some idiot scientist doesn’t decide to give ants tiny machine guns just to see what would happen. There could be carnage everywhere, ants just taking over the world like you read about. Scary really.

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