Ants and Humans

Gorongosa4

I am not particularly interested in insects other than how to keep them out of the house and off of me, but when the renowned scientist and entomologist, Ed Wilson, Ph.D. began talking about his lifelong study and teaching about ants, in particular, the lanky, slightly eccentric gentleman speaking with a hint of a drawl, I listened. True there was not much competition for my viewing attention, so it was almost a choice by default. There were times I almost switched stations, but when the lovely landscapes from his childhood home in Alabama and the Gorongosa National Park, appeared my hand relaxed on the remote and I continued watching and listening.

He rambled on about assorted insects and showed an experiment where an abandoned ant hill was filled with concrete and after the concrete set, the earth was carefully scraped away leaving an enormous structure which helped scientists to understand the complex society of the ants.

Later in the program as he spoke from a rocking chair on his porch he talked about the similarities between ant colonies and human beings. The camera would show ants carrying food into their ant hills and then flash over to an overhead view of humans scurrying along in a big city going about their lives. He said we are the only living things that have learned that we can do more through communal co-operation than individually.

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