Ants are these small scale heroes that can do some heavy lifting although nature designed them with an extremely small and fragile body. Everyone has seen an ant wandering around with a large piece of bread, for instance, which appears to have crushed the tiny animal that struggles to move the meal back and forth, until it reaches the final destination.
A team of scientists have gathered together to observe the behavior of our little heroes and reveal the secret behind their almost unbelievable strength. Seemingly, a large team of ants does the heavy lifting but they are not designed with the sense of direction, reason why a small number of “scouts” enter the playground and steer for short periods. Ants seem to have a perfect balance between individuality and conformism, as researchers stated.
In a list of extended experiments, researchers unveiled the mystery that lies behind the undoubtable power of ants. They have a high sense of co-operation and massive strength which helps them carry food on their backs a long way. Researchers have managed to show how a dozen of ants gather together in unison to haul something like a large insect could adjust its course based on new intelligence provided by a single, strategically involved ant who joins the effort.
The “Scout” ant is the secret of the group, as it comes to action the moment when it feels that the group is off-course or heading towards trouble. The little insect signals needed change with an extremely subtle gesture that activates the necessary change in direction by tugging a different angle.
The “scout” has something which heavy lifters don’t posess. Let’s say, a little more brain, as it always knows how to pass an obstacle. On the other hand, the little scout lacks the muscle power to move the load. Heavy lifters are there to amplify the leader’s strength so that it can put the idea into action.
Leaders shift positions, as the same ant that took the lead will pass the role to another arrival with more insightful and up to date information. A leader is there to stay for no more than 10 to 20 seconds until it hands over the responsibility to another one of its mates.
The most challenging part for ants when it comes to carrying meals is finding the perfect balance between synchronized action and conformity on the one hand and flexibility needed to adapt, on the other hand. Us, humans, have a lot to learn from these species of animals who manage to create the perfect co-operation system, adapt to difficult situations and gather their forces efficiently.
Image Source: understandus.ca