[ExI] ants again

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Mon Sep 22 21:58:35 UTC 2008

On Mon, Sep 22, 2008 at 3:36 PM, Mike Dougherty wrote:
> Consider: the ant has been a model for bottom-up robots; this
> primitive "feed the hive" directive you've observed provides
> interesting insight to that model.  (immutable primary goal)

You know that ants follow pheromone trails between the food source and the nest?
And their foraging technique has been used to do network analysis, etc.

Well, their system is better than that.
Because foraging is a pretty dangerous activity with a high casualty
rate, it is the older ants who get the job, because their life
expectancy is low anyway.
But how do new recruits learn foraging?
The older foragers teach them!
It is called tandem running and is the only known case of an insect
species doing one-on-one training.


Big brains are not crucial to teaching

11 January 2006    Duncan Graham-Rowe

Animals do not need a big brain to be able to teach each other, a new
study suggests.

Animal behaviourists in the UK believe they have found the first
evidence of two-way teacher-pupil communication between ants,
suggesting that teaching behaviour may have evolved according to the
value of information rather than brain size.

Some ants use tandem running when foraging. This is when one ant
appears to lead another from the nest to a food source by using
signals that control the speed and route of the journey.



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