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The Lie: Evolution


Thank God for Ants

Compiled by Karl C. Priest 1-1-2014 (revised 3-6-22)

[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)


The physics of fire ant rafts could help engineers design swarming robots

A new study by engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder lays out the simple physics-based rules that govern how these ant rafts morph over time: shrinking, expanding or growing long protrusions like an elephant's trunk. The team's findings could one day help researchers design robots that work together in swarms or next-generation materials in which molecules migrate to fix damaged spots…"Our work on fire ants will, hopefully, help us understand how simple rules can be programmed, such as through algorithms dictating how robots interact with others, to achieve a well-targeted and intelligent swarm response," he said.

Bull ant (evolves) has a new way to target pain

Researchers found a bull ant venom component that exploits a pain pathway in mammals, which they believe evolved to stop echidnas attacking the ant's nests…EGF-inhibitor drugs are readily available on the market and used in anti-cancer therapy to slow tumour growth, with evidence suggesting patients that take them experience less long-term pain. "We hope that by highlighting the role of this signalling pathway in pain, we can encourage different strategies for pain treatment, especially long-term pain for which treatment is currently limited," Dr Robinson said.
The headline was altered to reflect reality. The other bold red font shows the religious fever of True Believers in evolutionism and is worthy of BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!.

Deciphering algorithms used by ants and the Internet

Scientists found that ants and other natural systems use optimization algorithms similar to those used by engineered systems, including the Internet. These algorithms invest incrementally more resources as long as signs are encouraging but pull back quickly at the first sign of trouble. The systems are designed to be robust, allowing for portions to fail without harming the entire system. Understanding how these algorithms work in the real world may help solve engineering problems, whereas engineered systems may offer clues to understanding the behavior of ants, cells, and other natural systems…Engineers sometimes turn to nature for inspiration…Suen thinks ants might inspire new ways to protect computer systems against hackers or cyberattacks. Engineers could emulate how nature withstands a range of threats to health and viability.

Swapping spit helps ants share metabolic labor

Individual ants have two stomachs -- one for digesting their own food and another one that comes first, a 'social stomach' for storing fluids that they share with other ants in their colony. These fluid exchanges allow ants to share food and other important proteins that the ants themselves produce…” It is hard to measure how metabolic work is shared between cells. Here, the ants pass things around in a way that we can easily access what they are sharing. Having a better understanding of how ants share metabolic labour may help us learn more about the ways that other creatures, like humans, distribute metabolic tasks between different tissues or different cells in their bodies."

How ant teeth cut like a scalpel

The built-in tools of ants have been imaged in atomic detail for the first time by materials scientists…New research reveals that ants, worms, spiders, and other tiny creatures have a built-in set of tools that would be the envy of any carpenter or surgeon. A recent study, published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, shows for the first time how individual atoms of zinc are arranged to maximize cutting efficiency and maintain the sharpness of these exquisitely constructed tiny animal tool . Consider the ant tooth …"Human engineers might also learn from this biological trick," said Schofield…" This is especially important for designing structures like nuclear power plants that need to withstand aging for many decades."
Red bold font added to show why God said to consider the ant: Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Proverbs 6:6

The science of ants' underground cities

Scientists look at how ants dig tunnels, and come up with some surprising results. Slip beneath the surface and the above-ground simplicity of an ant hill gives way to subterranean complexity. Tunnels dive downward, branching and leading to specialized chambers that serve as home for the colony's queen, as nurseries for its young, as farms for fungus cultivated for food, and as dumps for its trash. These are not just burrows. They are underground cities, some of them home to millions of individuals, reaching as far as 25 feet underground, often lasting for decades…This kind of construction would be an impressive undertaking for most creatures, but when performed by animals that don't get much bigger than your fingernail, it is especially remarkable. Now, driven by the desire to improve our own ability to dig underground -- whether it is for mining, subways or underground farming -- a team of researchers from Caltech has unraveled one of the secrets behind how ants build these amazingly complex and stable structures.

Ant responses to social isolation resemble those of humans

Ants react to social isolation in a similar way as do humans and other social mammals. A study by an Israeli-German research team has revealed alterations to the social and hygienic behavior of ants that had been isolated from their group. The research team was particularly surprised by the fact that immune and stress genes were downregulated in the brains of the isolated ants. "This makes the immune system less efficient, a phenomenon that is also apparent in socially isolating humans…

These Ants Suit Up in a Protective 'Biomineral Armor' Never Seen Before in Insects

A team led by researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison analysed this 'whitish granular coating' on A. echinatior and came to the conclusion that the coating is a self-made biomineral body armour…The team peered deep onto the mineral layer that covers the ant's exoskeleton, using electron microscopy, electron backscatter diffraction, and a number of other techniques…with more research the 'armour' technology could even make the leap to humans - or at least our stuff. "We think that there is potential for development of the material as adding strength to a range of products. It is light and thin," Currie told ScienceAlert.
Karl’s comment: The following True Believer in Evolutionism balderdash was in the article: “it seems these little guys needed protection enough to evolve their own natural body armour…Although we don't understand how this leaf-cutter ant species evolved this coating…” Those stupid statements are excellent examples of Helping Evolutionists Get It Right and BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!  

New antifungal compound from ant farms

In a study of bacteria from ant nests at multiple sites in Brazil, the team discovered that nearly two thirds of Pseudonocardia strains produced a potent antifungal agent, which they called attinimicin. This discovery marked the first report of a specialized metabolite with broad geographic distribution produced by ant-associated bacteria. While this metabolite was safe for the fungal crop, it inhibited growth of fungal parasites, though -- unlike many antibiotics -- only in the absence of iron. It was also effective in fighting a Candida albicans infection in mice, comparable to azole-containing antifungal treatments that are used clinically, making it a potential drug candidate.

Ants are skilled farmers: They have solved a problem that we humans have yet to

A new study reports that ants are pros at cultivating climate-resilient crops. Fungus-farming ants are an insect lineage that relies on farmed fungus for their survival. In return for tending to their fungal crops -- protecting them against pests and pathogens, providing them with stable growth conditions in underground nests, and provisioning them with nutritional 'fertilizers' -- the ants gain a stable food supply…(Ants are) impressive architects, often excavating sophisticated and climate-controlled subterranean growth chambers where they can protect their fungus from the elements," he says. he says. Furthermore, these little creatures also appear able to carefully regulate the nutrients used to grow their crops…One might wonder, is it possible to simply copy their ingenious methods?

Ants adapt tool use to avoid drowning

Researchers have observed black imported fire ants using sand to draw liquid food out of containers, when faced with the risk of drowning. This is the first time this sophisticated tool use has been reported in animals…A laboratory experiment has shown for the first time that a species of ant has the remarkable ability to adapt its tool use. When provided with small containers of sugar water, black imported fire ants were able to float and feed on the surface, but when researchers reduced the surface tension, the ants started depositing sand grains on the inside of the container leading out of it.

"We found the ants used sand to build a structure that could effectively draw sugar water out of the container to then to be collected" said Dr Aiming Zhou, an associate professor at Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China, and a lead author of the research. "This exceptional tool making skill not only reduced the drowning risk of ants, but also provided a larger space for them to collect sugar water." The sand structures were found to be so efficient that they could syphon almost half of the sugar water out of the containers in five minutes…The results not only demonstrate black imported fire ants' ability to use tools to forage but also that they can recognise an increased foraging risk and can adjust their tool use in response to this.
Red bold font added to show why God said to consider the ant and be wise. Proverbs 6:6

An ant-inspired approach to mathematical sampling

Animals like ants have the challenge of exploring their environment to look for food and potential places to live. With a large group of individuals, like an ant colony, a large amount of time would be wasted if the ants repeatedly explored the same empty areas… In mathematics, a probability distribution describes how likely are each of a set of different possible outcomes: for example, the chance that an ant will find food at a certain place. In many science and engineering problems, these distributions are highly complex, and they do not have a neat mathematical description. Instead, one must sample from it to obtain a good approximation: with a desire to avoid sampling too much from unimportant (low probability) parts of the distribution. The team wanted to find out if adopting an ant-inspired approach would hasten this sampling process… "Our ant-inspired sampling method may be useful in many domains, such as computational biology, for speeding up the analysis of complex problems.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation. Evolutionism nonsense is unnecessary and easily omitted without changing the research. An example from the article: This parallel can inform our fundamental understanding of what the ants have evolved to do: acquire information more efficiently.

Robot-ants that can jump, communicate with each other and work together

A team of researchers has developed tiny 10-gram robots that are inspired by ants: they can communicate with each other, assign roles among themselves and complete complex tasks together. These reconfigurable robots are simple in structure, yet they can jump and crawl to explore uneven surfaces. Individually, ants have only so much strength and intelligence. However, as a colony, they can use complex strategies to complete sophisticated tasks and evade larger predators…In practical situations, such as an emergency search mission, Tribots could be deployed en masse. And thanks to their multi-locomotive and multi-agent communication capabilities, they could locate a target quickly over a large surface without relying on GPS or visual feedback. "Since they can be manufactured and deployed in large numbers, having some 'casualties' would not affect the success of the mission," adds Paik." "With their unique collective intelligence, our tiny robots can demonstrate better adaptability to unknown environments; therefore, for certain missions, they would outperform larger, more powerful robots."
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that  Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Ants maintain essential interactions despite environmental flux

Ants adjust their social interactions to accommodate changes in population density, according to researchers at Penn State and Georgetown University. The findings suggest that ant colonies are capable of maintaining their sophisticated social organization despite potentially drastic changes in their environments…"This work shows that social species like ants can maintain levels of social connection and interaction even when their environment changes drastically," said Hanks. "As social interactions are a critical driver of the spread of infectious disease, our work shows that changing spatial environments, such as how cities or businesses are laid out, may have little or no effect on the spread of infectious disease, as social species may change their movement patterns to conserve community interactions."

Fire ant colonies could inspire molecular machines, swarming robots

In a new study, a team led by CU Boulder's Franck Vernerey set out to understand the engineering principles that underlie self-assembled structures of fire ants -- each one containing hundreds to thousands of insects or more. Specifically, the researchers wanted to lay out how those structures become so flexible, changing their shapes and consistencies in seconds. To do that, they used statistical mechanics to calculate the way that ant colonies respond to stresses from outside, shifting how they hang onto their neighbors based on key thresholds.

The findings may help researchers understand other "dynamic networks" in nature, including cells in the human body, said Vernerey, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Such networks "are why human bodies can self-heal," Vernerey said. "They are why we can grow. All of this is because we are made from materials that are interacting and can change their shape over time."

The study, published last week in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, could also help engineers to craft new smart polymers and swarming robots that work together seamlessly. Fire ants are "a bio-inspiration," said Shankar Lalitha Sridhar, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at CU Boulder and a coauthor of the new study. The goal is "to mimic what they do by figuring out the rules."

The researchers explained that they've only just scratched the surface of the mathematics of fire ant colonies. But their calculations are general enough that researchers can already begin using them to explore designs for new dynamic networks, including molecular machines that deliver drugs directly to cells.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

More workers working might not get more work done, ants (and robots) show

A study published August 17 in the journal Science shows that in fire ant colonies, a small number of workers does most of digging, leaving the other ants to look somewhat less than industrious. For digging nest tunnels, this less busy approach gets the job done without ant traffic jams -- ensuring smooth excavation flow. Researchers found that applying the ant optimization strategy to autonomous robots avoids mechanized clogs and gets the work done with the least amount of energy. Optimizing the activity of autonomous underground robots could be useful for tasks such as disaster recovery, mining or even digging underground shelters for future planetary explorers…Having a nest is essential to fire ants, and if a colony is displaced -- by a flood, for instance -- the first thing the ants will do upon reaching dry land is start digging. Their tunnels are narrow, barely wide enough for two ants to pass, a design feature hypothesized to give locomotion advantages in the developing vertical tunnels. Still, the ants know how to avoid creating clogs by retreating from tunnels already occupied by other workers -- and sometimes by not doing anything much at all. To avoid clogs and maximize digging in the absence of a leader, robots built by Goldman's master's degree student Vadim Linevich were programmed to capture aspects of the dawdling and retreating ants…

"When we put four robots into a confined environment and tried to get them to dig, they immediately jammed up," said Goldman, who is the Dunn Family Professor in the School of Physics. "While observing the ants, we were surprised to see that individuals would sometimes go to the tunnel and if they encountered even a small amount of clog, they'd just turn around and retreat. When we put those rules into combinations with the robots, that created a good strategy for digging rapidly with low amounts of energy use per robot."…The researchers used robots designed and built for the research, but they were no match for the capabilities of the ants. The ants are flexible and robust, able to squeeze past each other in confines that would cause the inflexible robots to jam. In some cases, the robots in Goldman's lab even damaged each other while jostling into position for digging.

The research findings could be useful for space exploration where tunnels might be needed to quickly shield humans from approaching dust storms or other threats. "If you were a robot swarm on Mars and needed to dig deeply in a hurry to get away from dust storms, this strategy might help provide shelter without having perfect information about what everybody was doing," Goldman explained. Beyond the potential robotics applications, the work provides insights into the complex social skills of ants and adds to the understanding of active matter. "Ants that live in complex subterranean environments have to develop sophisticated social rules to avoid the bad things that can happen when you have a lot of individuals in a crowded environment,"

(Red bold font added to show the BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA! hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Deadly behavior-modifying weapon identified in insect-world chemical arms race

New research joins the dots between zombie ants, an insect-world arms race and the search for new antibiotics. Scientists probing one of the mysteries of the insect world identified a powerful chemical weapon used in the arms race between fungus-farming leafcutter ants and the parasites that plague them. It is hoped that the findings will help scientists search for new antibiotics from this unique battlefield… Prof Wilkinson added: "This work highlights the key role that natural products play in the pest-control dynamics of farming ant colonies and is invaluable in aiding our search for new antibiotics from this unique battlefield where, in the long run, no party can permanently win. This may help us in future studies to address the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis in human medicine." "This study illustrates how important it is to gain insight into the diverse functions of natural products in nature," said Christian Hertweck at Jena, "not only from an ecological perspective but also with a pharmaceutical application in mind."
(The full article is infected with the fungal infection common to True Believers in Evolutionism.)

(Headline is about wasps)

"There's a lot that we can learn from social insects. For one, they're known for being incredibly efficient, so much so that shipping companies utilize models which have been derived from foraging ants to try and ship their goods as efficiently as they possibly can. So, if your package arrives faster, you probably have a social insect to thank for that."

Navigating with the sixth sense

With this result the researchers have "opened a new door which raises a lot of further questions." One of them is: "When do desert ants use their magnetic sense?" It might well be that they already rely on it during the first weeks of their life which they spend underground. After all, a navigational aid can be quite useful in total darkness. But this is only a hypothesis at this point. The second question the scientists want to tackle is how and whether the ants switch between the different navigational cues - the position of the sun, landmarks and the magnetic field. Experienced foragers are already known to perform re-learning walks when they are forced to do so, for example by changing the environment at the nest entrance. It is unclear, however, whether they rely on magnetic field cues again in this case or whether they use their solar compass as during the foraging trips.

And ultimately, there is of course the overarching question of where the magnetic field sensor is located and how it works. According to Wolfgang Rössler, this question takes you deep into the field of orientational and navigational research in insects. How does the comparably small ant brain manage to store navigational information on the position of the sun, the magnetic field and landmarks and integrate this information with distance data from their step counter? Rössler believes that this question goes far beyond the field of behavioural research and neurosciences and is of great interest for computer science and robotics, too.

You've probably heard about poop pills, the latest way for humans to get benevolent bacteria into their guts. But it seems that a group of ants may have been the original poop pill pioneers

(The actual headline was so slanted to evolutionism, to be fair to young readers, it was omitted. The entire article was so infested with True Believers in Evolutionism hallucinations that it would qualify for inclusion at BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!

Finding that turtle ants keep nitrogen producing bacteria in their guts shows how they can survive so well while eating foods that so few other animals seem to want…."The turtle ant system -- which is relatively simple -- may prove useful in helping us to model questions about our own partnerships with microbes and how important they are for human health."

Helping in spite of risk: Ants perform risk-averse sanitary care of infectious nest mates

Ants care for their sick nest mates in different ways, depending on their own immune status. When they themselves are susceptible to dangerous superinfections, they use a different method to care for sick colony members compared to ants that are not susceptible, thus protecting themselves from infection… . Sylvia Cremer studies the social immune system in ants with the aim of finding out more about epidemiology and disease dynamics in societies.

New light shed on antibiotics produced by ants

Ants, like humans, deal with disease. To deal with the bacteria that cause some of these diseases, some ants produce their own antibiotics. A new comparative study identified some ant species that make use of powerful antimicrobial agents -- but found that 40 percent of ant species tested didn't appear to produce antibiotics. The study has applications regarding the search for new antibiotics that can be used in humans… "We thought every ant species would produce at least some type of antimicrobial," Penick says. "Instead, it seems like many species have found alternative ways to prevent infection that do not rely on antimicrobial chemicals." "The fact that not all ants use antimicrobials highlights the importance of refining our search for species that actually do hold promise for biomedical research," Smith says.

An algorithm that explains how ants create and repair trail networks

Gordon's work, published online Sept. 29 by American Naturalist, has led to the development of a simple algorithm that explains how ants create, repair and prune a network within a complex maze of vegetation. This algorithm could explain other biological processes or provide engineering solution. The ants Gordon studied never leave their forest canopy, moving instead through a tangle of vines, bushes and trees along a circuit of trails that link many nests and food sources. Because these food sources come and go, nests disappear and branches break, the circuit changes slightly from day to day…As often happens in science, algorithms can offer nature-inspired solutions to engineered problems, leading to robust and elegant fixes. The algorithms that produce and repair natural networks, like the network of neurons and their synapses in the brain, help us to design and navigate many kinds of engineered networks, such as Facebook or subway systems.

Ant-inspired density estimation via random walks

Many ant species use distributed population density estimation in applications ranging from quorum sensing, to task allocation, to appraisal of enemy colony strength. It has been shown that ants estimate local population density by tracking encounter rates: The higher the density, the more often the ants bump into each other. We study distributed density estimation from a theoretical perspective…From a technical perspective, our analysis provides tools for understanding complex dependencies in the collision probabilities of multiple random walks. We bound the strength of these dependencies using local mixing properties of the underlying graph. Our results extend beyond the grid to more general graphs, and we discuss applications to size estimation for social networks, density estimation for robot swarms, and random walk-based sampling for sensor networks.

What ants teach us about the brain, cancer and the Internet

I've recently realized that ants are using interactions differently in different environments, and that got me thinking that we could learn from this about other systems, like brains and data networks that we engineer, and even cancer…In the early days of the Internet, when operating costs were really high and it was really important not to lose any data, then the system was set up for interactions to activate the flow of data. It's interesting that the ants are using an algorithm that's so similar to the one that we recently invented…So another environmental challenge that all systems have to deal with is resources, finding and collecting them. And to do this, ants solve the problem of collective search, and this is a problem that's of great interest right now in robotics, because we've understood that, rather than sending a single, sophisticated, expensive robot out to explore another planet or to search a burning building, that instead, it may be more effective to get a group of cheaper robots exchanging only minimal information, and that's the way that ants do it…we recently asked ants to solve the collective search problem in the extreme environment of microgravity in the International Space Station…But we might be able to learn something from ants about treating cancer.

Scientists are harvesting the antibiotic made by leafcutter ants

The antibiotic's properties are similar to antifungal agents used in modern medicine…Government health officials have issued a fresh warning about the urgent need to find new antibiotics.

Ants build sinking Eiffel Towers when trying to escape

"If you watched ants for 30 seconds, you could have no idea that something miraculous would be created in 20 minutes," said David Hu, a Georgia Tech mechanical engineering professor who co-led the study. "With no planning, and using trial-and-error, they create a bell-shaped structure that helps them survive."… The findings, which are now published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, could have implications for modular robots, which currently aren't very effective at building tall towers…Why wouldn't we study these processes? Engineers and scientists don't always know what our findings will lead to, but bioinspired design can be a powerful tool to make our world more efficient." (Bold font added)

Diverse populations make rational collective decisions

Yes/no binary decisions by individual ants can lead to a rational decision as a collective when the individuals have differing preferences to the subject, according to research recently published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. This binary mechanism of decision-making could provide a basis for understanding how neurons in the human brain, which also make binary choices, work together…This mechanism can be applied to various fields including brain science, behavioural science, swarm robotics and consensus decision-making in human societies, conclude the researchers.

Making 'mulch' ado of ant hills

Ants are hardworking and beneficial insects, research reveals. In the activities of their daily lives, ants help increase air, water flow, and organic matter in soil. The work done by ants even forms a type of mulch that helps hold water in the soil… n addition to creating the aggregate mulches, ants help the soil environment by "bringing down food sources from outside," says soil scientist Tongchuan Li. "Types of food include the bodies of insects, leaves, sugar water, and the 'honeydew' of aphids. The big diameter of the nest channels (4.1-6.6mm) and the chambers also can improve the transport of air with frequent ant activities." Li and researchers at Northwest A&F University, Yangling, China, found that ant-made aggregate mulches could help retain water in agricultural fields. In other words, these aggregates can act like any other mulch, preserving moisture in the soil, under certain conditions.

How desert ants find their way in a featureless environment

These desert ants live in salt pans and are ideal models for navigation research. When they set out in search of food in their flat, bare, hostile environment, they are nevertheless always able to find their way back to their nest on the shortest route possible. They have an internal navigation system. The ants measure the distance they have gone by recording how many steps they have taken -- and they use the sun for directional orientation, taking into account its movement over time via their own internal clock…The experiments are expected to yield information which will be useful in the development of autonomous robots as well as in other areas.

'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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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,'

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. ( [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.

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."

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.

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.

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…

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."

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.

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.

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!)

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!)

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

'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."

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.

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.

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."

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.
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.

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.”

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."

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."

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.

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.

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.

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…

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."

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)

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