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Thank God for Ants

Compiled by Karl C. Priest 1-1-2014 (revised 2-2-17)

[This page is a subsection of "Thank God for Insects".]

Note: There is likely an abundance of examples of amazing flies of which I am unaware.

There are several examples in my article "Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation" and some may be duplicated in that article and this one. (Please let me know of any duplicates below.)

CONSIDER THE ANT (Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Proverbs 6:6 KJB)

'Love hormone' from insects as potential drug lead for inhibiting preterm labor

A team of scientists from Austria, Australia, Denmark, England and the Czech Republic, led by Christian Gruber from the MedUni Vienna's Institute of Pharmacology managed to isolate a neuropeptide from ants that is very similar to the human "love hormone" oxytocin, and the closely related hormone vasopressin. "Surprisingly, by introducing a small chemical modification into this insect neuropeptide, we were able to develop a very stable and highly selective inhibitor of the human vasopressin V1a receptor," explains Christian Gruber. "This ligand was tested on human uterine tissue and effectively inhibited muscular contractions. Further tests are now necessary to explore clinical applications of the active lead molecule."

Vasopressin (also known as the anti-diuretic hormone) plays an important role in regulating water balance through the kidneys; however, in combination with oxytocin, it can also influence the blood supply to the uterus and uterine contractility during childbirth. An inhibitor for the human vasopressin V1a receptor could therefore be given to patients at risk of premature labor to inhibit undesirable, preterm uterine muscle contractions. The vasopressin V1a receptor also plays an important role in the brain and in the cardiovascular system. Hence, there are other conceivable clinical applications -- for example, to treat anxiety disorders, aggression, depression, as well as congestive heart failure, stroke or menstrual pain.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170201093449.htm

Ants need work-life balance, research suggests

As humans, we constantly strive for a good work-life balance. New findings by researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology suggest that ants, long perceived as the workaholics of the insect world, do the same. In fact, according to these researchers, it is imperative that some ants rest while others work to conserve food, energy and resources for the colony…"Humans are like ants in a way that we all live together in groups, collaborating toward our own betterment," Hou says. "Both humans and ants face similar problems of allocating resources based on tasks and energy. Understanding how ants spend their energy in relation to their group and why they do so will provide insight into conditions for individuals that allow a group to perform collective optimization of behavior, that is, in the context of sustainable use of scarce resources.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170111184106.htm

Analysis of ant colonies could improve network algorithms

Ants, it turns out, are extremely good at estimating the concentration of other ants in their vicinity. This ability appears to play a role in several communal activities, particularly in the voting procedure whereby an ant colony selects a new nest.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160713105850.htm

All ants on deck: Raft-building ants exhibit memory, repeatedly occupy same position when forming rafts

A team of scientists has found that a species of ant that clusters together to form rafts to survive floods exhibits memory and repeatedly occupies the same position during raft formation, according to a just published paper. The research shows that, like humans, ants work together to enhance their response to emergency situations with different members of the group carrying out different tasks. By working together, social insects, such as ants, achieve tasks that are beyond the reach of single individuals. A striking example is "self-assembly," a process in which ants link their bodies to form structures such as chains, ladders, walls or rafts. There are also indirect applications. The fields of swarm robotics and nanorobotics use ants and other social insects as models when they design 'cooperative' robots that may ultimately be used in medicine, for such things as clearing blood clots, or for fabrication of materials.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160418145456.htm

Karl’s comment: they stunk up the article with this line: “By studying self-assembly in ants, scientists are addressing broad biological and evolutionary questions such as why particular animals live in some environments but not others.”

Skilled workers: Study shows the talents of leafcutter ants

Studying them, says University of Oregon scientist Robert M.S. Schofield, not only leads to ways to reduce the damages they and their often-massive nests cause but also provides nature-based insights that could prove helpful to efforts to manufacture tiny machines and tools.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160212164202.htm

Learning from ants how to build transportation networks

Using mathematical modeling and field data, researchers at the mathematics department at Uppsala University have found the basic rules that allow ants to build efficient and low cost transport networks without discarding robustness… Thus network planners struggle to build transportation systems that are efficient and robust, but also not too expensive, trying to find the best compromise between competing design goals.

Searching for inspiration, researchers have turned towards nature, observing the spontaneous formation process of natural transportation networks, from ant trails… Once we have found what nature does, we have tried to apply the same simple rules to predict what would happen to human-made system, electric grids for example, if they were built by these ants,' says Arianna Bottinelli, PhD student at Uppsala University… Once we have found what nature does, we have tried to apply the same simple rules to predict what would happen to human-made system, electric grids for example, if they were built by these ants… It turns out that, when building a new suburb, it is sufficient to connect it to the closest city area to ensure that the whole power network will be relatively cheap but also quite efficient on the long run. Then robustness can be increased or decreased by changing the frequency with which new suburbs are connected to service centers, in this specific example to power plants. 'It is a further step towards the understanding of nature and an attempt to use what we observe there to improve and advise the design of human-made systems,'
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151020192328.htm

Ant Colony Optimisation for Planning Safe Escape Routes

An emergency requiring evacuation is a chaotic event filled with uncertainties both for the people affected and rescuers. The evacuees are often left to themselves for navigation to the escape area. The chaotic situation increases when a predefined escape route is blocked by a hazard, and there is a need to re-think which escape route is safest. This paper addresses automatically finding the safest escape route in emergency situations in large buildings or ships with imperfect knowledge of the hazards. The proposed solution, based on Ant Colony Optimisation, suggests a near optimal escape plan for every affected person — considering both dynamic spread of hazards and congestion avoidance. (http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-38577-3_6) [separate research]: Taking inspiration from nature, engineers have observed the crowd flow of ants to help design exits that function more effectively during evacuations of large buildings and sporting arenas. Crowd safety is emerging as an important issue worldwide following numerous incidents in which crowd panic has resulted in injuries and/or death.
http://monash.edu/news/show/ants-helping-to-design-exit-strategy

Close-up film shows for the first time how ants use 'combs' and 'brushes' to keep their antennae clean

Using unique mechanical experiments and close-up video, Cambridge researchers have shown how ants use microscopic 'combs' and 'brushes' to keep their antennae clean, which could have applications for developing cleaners for nanotechnology… "The arrangement of 'bristles', 'combs' and 'brush' lets the cleaning structure work as a particle filter that can clean different sized dirt particles with a single cleaning stroke," says Hackmann. "Modern nanofabrication techniques face similar problems with surface contamination, and as a result the fabrication of micron-scale devices requires very expensive cleanroom technology. We hope that understanding the biological system will lead to building bioinspired devices for cleaning on micro and nano scales."
http://phys.org/news/2015-07-close-up-ants-antennae.html

Ants color vision may help march towards robot technology

The wider context of the research is to find out how animals see their world. With ants, the most interesting question is how miniaturisation affects their sensory systems and the researchers would like to know what strategies ants use to overcome miniaturisation effects such as small eyes and very limited processing power (small brains). The interest in miniaturisation comes from both biology and robotics. Finding how animals navigate and see their world with very limited resources and how they use these resources to best effect could, in the long run, help scientists design more autonomous and effective robots and vehicles.
http://phys.org/news/2015-05-ants-vision-robot-technology.html

Ants' movements hide mathematical patterns

When ants go exploring in search of food they end up choosing collective routes that fit statistical distributions of probability. This has been demonstrated by a team of mathematicians after analysing the trails of a species of Argentine ant. Studies like this could be applied to coordinate the movement of micro-robots in cleaning contaminated areas for example.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150512103518.htm

Festo unveils robotic ants…

Designing a robot that can convincingly move like a member of the animal kingdom is a much more difficult prospect than merely building something that has the outward appearance of one… Festo sees the development of its BionicANTs, where the latter half of the name stands for Autonomous Networking Technologies, as an indication of things to come on the factory floor, where production systems of the future are founded on adaptable and intelligent components which are able to work under a higher overall control hierarchy. These artificial insects don't just look and move like giant versions of their counterparts in nature, but the company's engineers have also managed to mimic the cooperative behavior of real world ants with the help of complex control algorithms…
http://www.gizmag.com/festo-bionicants-flexshapegripper-emotionbutterflies/36765/

Honey, I shrunk the ants: How environment controls size

Until now scientists have believed that the variations in traits -- such as our height, skin colour, tendency to gain weight or not, intelligence, tendency to develop certain diseases, etc., all of them traits that exist along a continuum -- were a result of both genetic and environmental factors. But they didn't know how exactly these things worked together. By studying ants, McGill researchers have identified a key mechanism by which environmental (or epigenetic) factors influence the expression of all of these traits, along with many more… "It's a discovery that completely changes our understanding of how human variation comes to be," says Abouheif. "So many human traits, whether they are intelligence, height, or vulnerability to diseases such as cancer, exist along a continuum. If, as we believe, this epigenetic mechanism applies to a key gene in each area, the change is so enormous that it's hard to even imagine right now how it will influence research in everything from health to cognitive development to farming."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150311081258.htm

Ant behavior might shed insight on problems facing electronics design

Ant colonies are known for their efficiency in finding the best route to  food sources. So Hsiao, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech, and an expert in design verification has tackled one of the major problems facing electronics design in a novel way. He has developed mathematical formulas that simulate the methods used by the ants when they are seeking nourishment. Hsiao plans to use these algorithms to improve the accuracy in electronics design when one needs to validate and verify that the design meets the spec… This research should lead to a better understanding of the validation of large, complex designs and help cut the overall cost of the design process. "The success of this project not only will push the envelope on design validation, but will also offer new stimuli generation methods to related areas, such as post-silicon validation and validating trust of hardware," Hsiao said.
http://phys.org/news/2014-10-ant-behavior-insight-problems-electronics.html

Things Fire Ants Behave Like: Gore-Tex, a Liquid, a Woven Material, and a Waterproof Raft

Nobody has really bothered to study fire ants before, having been generally more interested in cursing at them and running quickly away from them, but a couple of mechanical engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology noticed some pretty incredible properties upon examination… we could easily see some of the properties of these ants used for commercial fabrics, but the engineers suggest military microbots could have a lot to learn from these ants as well.  
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2011-04/things-fire-ants-behave-gore-tex-liquid-woven-material-and-waterproof-raft

Going inside an ant raft: Researchers look to CT scan to visualize connectivity phenomenon

Three years ago, Georgia Institute of Technology researchers took a close look at how fire ants work together to build waterproof rafts to stay alive…. Fire ants are special engineers," said Hu. "They are the bricklayers and the bricks. Somehow they build and repair their structures without a leader or knowing what is happening. They just react and interact." Better understanding of this phenomenon could lead to new applications for people and machines. For instance, Hu envisions robots than can link together to build larger robots or bridges made of materials that can self-repair. "If ants can do it, maybe humans can create things that can too." (Karl’s comment: This one qualifies for BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612085918.htm

From chaos to order: How ants optimize food sear

Ants are capable of complex problem-solving strategies that could be widely applied as optimization techniques… So the mathematical model developed in studying the ants…also provides a new perspective on behavioral patterns of humans in areas as diverse as the evolution of web services and smart transportation systems. (Karl’s comment: What a pathetic way to tie this amazing fact to evolutionists! All web services are designed!)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140526182749.htm

Understanding biomechanics behind amazing ant strength opens door to advanced robotics

A recent study into the biomechanics of the necks of ants -- a common insect that can amazingly lift objects many times heavier than its own body -- might unlock one of nature's little mysteries and, quite possibly, open the door to advancements in robotic engineering.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140520133222.htm

Flexible, Stretchable Fire-Ant Rafts

(They) are so-called "viscoelastic" materials, meaning that they can both resist flow under stress, like honey, and they can bounce back to their original shape when stretched or compressed, like rubber bands. As such, the materials neither behave exactly as solids or exactly as fluids, but as something in between. And fire-ant rafts' unusual properties don't stop there, according to a new study presented in a talk at the upcoming American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. Researchers found the rafts actively reorganize their structure, a feat that allows them to more effectively cushion themselves against applied forces, such as the battering of raindrops or the surges of waves…"This is our most important discovery," said Liu, who noted that the swarm intelligence that the ants use to accomplish their continual construction could be applied to robotics research. Furthermore, he added, "the special structure formed by the ants might inspire new research in material science."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131126134628.htm

Mystery of how fire ants survive floods solved…

Biologists and engineers used mathematical modelling and time-lapse photography to unravel how the fire ants self-assemble into their life-preserving raft using different body parts, including their claws and mandibles…Mechanical engineering graduate student Nathan Mlot, professor of industrial and systems engineering, Craig Tovey and David Hu, joint professor of mechanical engineering and biology, at Georgia Tech…The research could have application to logistics and operations research and material sciences, including the construction of man-made flotation devices. It also could impact the field of robotics, the team said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2514349/Mystery-ants-survive-floods-solved-
Insects-hook-legs-form-LIFE-RAFTS-help-float.html

Ants, Like Humans, Can Change Their Priorities

For the first time, Arizona State University researchers have discovered that at least in ants, animals can change their decision-making strategies based on experience. They can also use that experience to weigh different options… Sasaki and Pratt hope to delve deeper into the realm of ant behavior so that one day, they can understand how individual ants influence the colony. Their greater goal is to apply what they discover to help society better understand how humanity can make collective decisions with the same ease ants display. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131107103421.htm

If aliens ever do land on Earth, don’t get all huffy if their greeting turns out to be: "Take me to your ant."

Urban planners examine the organization of ant societies. Mathematicians draw upon analyses of ant behavior to devise parallel computing formulas (where multiple problems are solved simultaneously). Ants serve as models in all kinds of studies aimed at figuring out how big, complex jobs get done with small parts and a minimum of instructions.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2011/05/weaver-ants/chadwick-text

Ant studies to aid design of search and rescue robots

A study showing how ants tunnel their way through confined spaces could aid the design of search-and-rescue robots, according to US scientists… Fire ants, he explained, could build stable tunnels in sand or soil with almost no moisture to bind it together, so learning from them might enable designers to build and programme robots that solve these same engineering problems. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22598821

Could hairy wood ants change the way we communicate?

"The way the ants use this network has important implications for how they interact with their environment, and the way information is passed through the network may even have implications for our information and telecommunications networks."… "The telephone network is actually very similar. How to move information through that network is sometimes done with ant-like analogies."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23710762

Ants turned into 'supersoldiers'

Referring to an ant ancestor study: (U) nlocking desirable ancestral features could be key to breeding crop plants with higher nutritional value or even tackling the mechanisms that cause cancer.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/16424096

How ants find their way

I think that every animal we look at is a more competent, more robust, more flexible, more miniaturized and a more energy-, material-, sensor- and computation-efficient agent than anything we have ever built, concludes Zeil.  So would anyone need more justification for how fundamentally important, intellectually challenging and promising it is to conduct research into the navigational abilities of insects?

(E)volution has driven natural navigation systems to a degree of perfection that human engineers can only dream of.
http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(12)00932-3

'Anternet' Discovered: Behavior of Harvester Ants as They Forage for Food Mirrors Protocols That Control Internet Traffic

Gordon thinks that scientists have just scratched the surface for how ant colony behavior could help us in the design of networked systems...Ants have evolved ( Karl’s comment: Leave out the word “evolved” and it only changes the religious motivation to include evolutionism in the article.) ways of doing things that we haven't thought up, but could apply in computer systems... I think as we start understanding more about how species of ants regulate their behavior, we'll find many more useful applications for network algorithms."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120829094209.htm

Seeking Social Genes: Researchers Compare Insect Genomes to Hone in On Genes Associated With Complex Social Structure

According to the researchers, the finding implies that, although the genes themselves are present in both worker and queen ants, when and where the genes are expressed is highly regulated and heritable from one generation to the next. "Everything we can learn about epigenetic modifications will probably have major implications for human health since these mechanisms are thought to be critical in the development of complex diseases of humans, such as mental illnesses and diabetes," said Gadau.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100826141228.htm

Ant Colonies Shed Light On Metabolism

According to Mr. Waters, because ant colonies behave metabolically like individual organisms, studying how a colony's size changes its metabolism could offer useful insight for developing theories about medication dosage in humans.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100826141228.htm

Resource Management in Ant Colonies May Have Lessons for Politicians and Economists

Political and economic theorists could learn lessons from studying how an ant colony allocates food resources, according to the authors of a new paper recently published in the scientific journal The American Naturalist... Ants are one of the most successful animal groups on the planet and the next questions for ecologists and political theorists is how resource management within ant colonies might affect interactions with surrounding related or unrelated competing colonies and how that would be mirrored in human societies."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120113205634.htm

Joe McCain Would Love to Be an Ant

A new study by Dr. Dirk Helbing, of Dresden University of Technology in Germany, suggests ants may be the key to solving our traffic woes. Helbing has studied traffic problems for years. In his newest research, he observed how ants deal with traffic congestion between their nests and a food source.
http://insects.about.com/b/2008/11/10/joe-mccain-
would-love-to-be-an-ant.htm At German Airports, Bees Help Monitor Air Quality

Ants in a Labyrinth: A Statistical Mechanics Approach to the Division of Labour

Division of labour (DoL) is a fundamental organisational principle in human societies, within virtual and robotic swarms and at all levels of biological organisation. DoL reaches a pinnacle in the insect societies where the most widely used model is based on variation in response thresholds among individuals, and the assumption that individuals and stimuli are well-mixed. Here, we present a spatially explicit model of DoL. Our model is inspired by Pierre de Gennes' 'Ant in a Labyrinth' which laid the foundations of an entire new field in statistical mechanics.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0018416

Ant Rafts Repel Water Like Gore-Tex

In the first serious study of the physics of fire-ant rafts, researchers have described how the insects form floating, waterproof islands... In nature, the rafts allow fire ants to survive epic rainstorms in their native Brazil. In the lab, they could help inspire designs for small, swarming robots that might someday be used to explore inaccessible areas or even clean up oil spills...“We were coming at it from an engineering perspective.”
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/04/ant-rafts/

Leader-less ants make super efficient networks

Ants are able to connect multiple sites in the shortest possible way, and in doing so, create efficient transport networks, according to a University of Sydney study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface... After two hours, the ants had created networks that closely resembled both efficient solutions. They frequently created difficult Steiner Networks, adding a central hub in the three-nest treatment and two central hubs in the four-nest treatment... Dr. Latty said: "It's interesting that the ants were able to create, on a blank slate, the mathematically shortest network between multiple points... Understanding how simple organisms like ants build efficient networks can inform the design of human transportation networks."
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-02-leader-less-ants-super-efficient-networks.html

Next generation of algorithms inspired by problem-solving ants

University of Sydney researchers have shown that the humble ant is capable of solving difficult mathematical problems.
These findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, deepen our understanding of how even simple animals can overcome complex and dynamic problems in nature, and will help computer scientists develop even better software to solve logistical problems and maximise efficiency in many human industries. Finding the most efficient path through a busy network is a common challenge faced by delivery drivers, telephone routers and engineers. To solve these optimisation problems using software, computer scientists have often sought inspiration from ant colonies…Discovering how ants are able to solve dynamic problems can provide new inspiration for optimisation algorithms, which in turn can lead to better problem-solving software and hence more efficiency for human industries."
http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-algorithms-problem-solving-ants.html

Ants vs. worms

In the never-ending battle to protect computer networks from intruders, security experts are deploying a new defense modeled after one of nature’s hardiest creatures — the ant.
http://www.wfu.edu/wowf/2009/20090921.ants.html

Can't Decide? Ask an Ant

Melissa Bateson, an ethologist at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, believes the findings could have "really interesting implications for the benefits of collective decision-making, which we could learn something from." Many grant-review boards, for example, behave like ants: Reviewers see only a subset of the total grant applications and thus have to make a decision without seeing every option.
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/722/1

Ants Don't Have Traffic Jams

“Now entomologists have to connect this behavior of ants to their ‘thinking and sensing’ process. Our work opens up the possibility of collaborations between entomologists, physicists, mathematical modelers and traffic scientists.” While this study shows that the collective marching of ant traffic seems to be very different from vehicular traffic, the scientists suggest that ant traffic might be more analogous to human pedestrian traffic. They plan to explore this analogy in the future, and they predict that their results could have applications in swarm intelligence, ant-based computer algorithms, and traffic engineering.
http://www.physorg.com/news157627187.html

Fungus farmers show way to new drugs

Because distinct ant species cultivate different fungal crops, which in turn fall prey to specialized parasites, researchers hope that they will learn how to make better antibiotics...“These ants are walking pharmaceutical factories,”…That’s not the end to the possible applications. The ant colonies are also miniature biofuel reactors…
http://www.greatlakesbioenergy.org/2009/03/30/fungus-farmers-show-way-to-new-drugs/

Ants may help researchers unlock mysteries of human aging process

The research will investigate what ants can teach us about aging and behavior. Results of the ant study may translate to other species including humans, using gene regulation in ants as a model for aging. "Ants live exceptionally long lives, they are social creatures, and they engage in stereotypical behaviors that befit their station in life, whether it be worker ant, soldier or queen," said Dr. Reinberg, professor of Biochemistry at NYU School of Medicine's Smilow Research Center. "Ants seem to be a perfect fit for study about whether epigenetics influences behavior and aging."
http://www.biologynews.net/archives/2008/11/24/ants
_may_help_researchers_unlock_mysteries_of_human_aging_process.html

Also see:

Ants and the Golden Ratio

Ants in Darwin's Pants

Ants Make Evolutionism Sterile

'At a Boy, Atta Ant

And the ant section on the Articles page.

Charlie’s Ants | Charlie’s Ants (with black characters)

Charlie’s Ants in other languages: Chinese | Danish | Filipino | French | German| Hindi | Korean | Malayalam | Nepali | Norwegian | Portuguese Russian | Spanish | Thai | Ukrainian