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Compassionate Ants!

February 19, 2018

It's no secret that ants are profoundly connected to the betterment of the group, so much so that ant colonies are considered superorganisms; an organized society that functions as an organic whole. Existing in a complex social structure, every ant serves out their life with the one purpose: to better their colony and, ultimately, their species. 

 

For Matabele ants this involves deadly attacks on termite nests, their only food source. Termites, ever the formidable foe, inflict high numbers of casualties to the invading ants as they protect their home. 

 

A new study has shown that these ants don't ignore their injured fellow soldiers as one might think. Quite the contrary, they rescue fallen compatriots from the field of battle and, once returned to the safety of their nest, nurse their wounds. Matabele ants even alter their behavior based on the severity of their injury causing those who cannot be saved to be left behind. 

 

Check out the video below from Science Magazine, which explains an experiment wherein researchers injured ants in order to test out their hypothesis - that their comrades would help them to safety. 

 

 

 

For more information on ants and their social structure, check out Deborah Gordon's fascinating TED talk, "The Emergent Genius of Ant Colonies." 

 

 

Read the full article from Science Magazine: Watch these African ants treat comrades injured on the field of battle

 

 

 

 

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