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Read about ants as:
livestock herders,
operators of granaries,
air conditioning engineers,
builders of 2,000 room dwellings,
growers of mushroom-like gardens.


Scientific evidence from the lowly ant


Ants have been studied for thousands of years. Many researchers have devoted their entire working life to their study. What is there about these seemingly insignificant creatures that cause such massive studies? Ants (like honeybees) quickly die if left on their own. Yet, when together as a group, ants take on a collective intelligence and accomplish amazing things. Where did that collective intelligence come from? Does evolution have the answer? Let's ponder those questions as we take a closer look at the lowly ant.


Warning: this Creation Corner article is far longer than other ones. Why? Ants do so many incredible things! But this article is short - very much condensed from the fifteen hundred pages that were read to produce it. So sit back, relax, and enjoy reading about remarkable feats from such an unexpected source - the lowly ant.


General information to start with

Source (3) tells us "Worker ants may live as long as six years, queens have been known to live seventeen years, but males are destined to die only a few weeks after their emergence."


Source (1) adds this, "A worker is one millionth the size of a human being, yet ants taken collectively rival people as dominant organisms. When combined, all ants in the world taken together weigh about as much as all human beings".





Ants seem to have built in habits of cleanliness. The authors wrote, "Most ants defecate either in a remote corner of the nest or in a special garbage area outside the nest, a pile of detritus entomologists call the kitchen midden".


Any beneficial functions carried out by ants?

Do ants do anything that is beneficial for man? Source (8) quotes researcher Neal A. Weber as saying this, "He praises ants as one of the few animals that transfer soil mineral nutrients essential for plant growth to the upper layers where the nutrients can be utilized. By their tunneling, the ants also aerate the soil and create passageway for drainage or water penetration."


But how much soil could these tiny insects end up tilling anyway? Our source tells us, "Along with termites, ants do most of the turning of the earth - moving more soil than earthworms and much more than all the world's human farmers." It seems tiny specks of ants are very successful soil tillers indeed.


Book (6) tells us that ants play an important role in insect control, especially in cleaning up dead and injured insects. A previous "Creation Corner" article (9) looked at nature's clean-up systems that operate constantly all around us. It seems ants operate as another such system. The author tells us that undoubtedly many of the insects born into the world end up as food for other insects.


But a vast percentage live out their little insect life, and then die. Ants evidently perform a vital clean-up service as they dispose of dead insects that otherwise would litter the ground. The author says that an observer, "will be astonished at the number of dead and disabled insects carried in by the [ant] foraging workers. Forel observed that a large colony of ants brought in 28 dead insects per minute and estimated that they would bring in 100,000 daily during the hours of their greatest activity."


Source (3) provides more data, "In a mature and healthy colony the foraging ants bring home each day more than their own weight in food, and as at least half of this consists of insects, they perform a valuable service of pest control."


How ants are useful for birds

The book (10) reports that starlings use ants in a very strange way,. "Acting like a contortionist, the bird extends a fanned-out tail to the ground and twists. Then, plucking an ant in its bill, it uses a quivering action to apply the angry insect to the underside of an outstretched wing. As the ant fights back with formic acid, the bird directs the chemical barrage onto its plumage.


The formic acid seems to attack the feather mites that otherwise would infest the plumage. The corrosive chemical also destroys fungi, bacteria, and oils, so it probably doubles as a plumage conditioner."


So there you have it. What a most unlikely procedure. A starling picks up an ant knowing it will squirt out formic acid and knowing this acid will cleanse its body of pests. How did it come to know all that?


Evolution seems to believe that far back in time an early starling had a thought, "I wonder if I can get rid of mites by picking up an insect and somehow using it? Good idea!" So this early starling started to experiment. It tried a multitude of insects, until finally one day, it tried an ant. And lo and behold, the angry ant fights back with formic acid and our lucky starling next learns to direct the spray onto itself with wondrous results.


Sound feasible to you? If so, you also have to explain how this new knowledge was passed on to the starling's offspring.


Die-hard evolutionists will probably say, no problem, it all makes sense to them. After all, isn't it all about evolving better and better, higher and higher? Obviously that's what happened.


Unfortunately, there is one more problem for evolutionists who believe starlings accidentally stumbled across the help ants could provide. You see, it was not just one bird specie that would have experimented and found the ant solution! Our author tells us, "At least 250 species of songbirds perform this seemingly masochistic ritual, so there is little doubt of its benefits."


So evolutionists have to say 250 species experimented and found this unusual solution. One specie is hard enough to believe, but two hundred and fifty?


Is there a more likely answer? Isn't it more logical that this bizarre, yet highly effective behavior, was programmed into all 250 species right at the time they were created? And isn't it more logical that it was also programmed into their DNA or genes at the same time so the knowledge, or instinct, was passed on to their offspring?


Ant nests

Ant nests seem marvels of engineering. One source (8) tells us about the nests built by the leafcutter ant that are, "...

1) at least 20 feet deep into the ground,

2) with a roof 20 feet or more across,

3) some nest roofs extend up to 52 by 52 feet,

4) The roof has a built-up area so well built that it repels heavy rains.

5) All around and on top of the nest are hundreds of openings, sometimes more than a thousand.

6) Around the perimeter, nest entrances function as air intake holes while the openings in the roof are chimney-like ventilation holes.


Let's notice some ventilation techniques. "Several million ants busy at work down below, added to the heat of the fungus metabolism, could cause overheating and produce a foul, oxygen-poor atmosphere. But, as the fungus cooks, the air in the central zone of the nest becomes hot and rises, pushing out the air from the central galleries. At the same time, stale air is drawn from the perimeter, through the tunnels, and up and out - creating better circulation and moderating the temperature and humidity of the nest."

So there you have it. Couldn't that description of an ant nest have come right out of an engineering manual? Rain run-off, temperature and humidity control performed flawlessly by millions of ants with no overseer. How did they learn this? How do they carry it out with no one seemingly in charge? How do individual ants perform so well when they act collectively? Could something be going on here that is above and beyond accidental evolution?


How many rooms might an ant dwelling have?

The author tells us, "There may be some 2,000 rooms in a mature nest, more than three hundred of them occupied by gardens, as well as a single queen, brood, and 3 to 7 million workers."


The book (5) tells us more about the nests of the Atta ant specie. "...over a few seasons, a nest can collect up to five tons of leaf, used for growing fungi. The nest itself has been excavating several tons of soil. One of its strangest characteristics is the presence of immense chambers over three feet wide and over three feet long, which the ants use as a cemetery and refuse pit; these are by far the biggest cavities ever made by an insect."


Source (7) adds more, "In the cool forests these ants build huge mounds, sometimes six feet tall, which are thatched or covered with a matting of twigs and pine needles...tight enough to shed water."


As more on ant nests, we learn this, "But the ultimate ant social system is that of the highly evolved Formica yessensis ant on the Ishikari coast of Hokkaido, Japan. One multiqueen supercolony contained 305 million workers and some 1.08 million queens. They lived in 45,000 interconnected nests stretched across a square mile."


All built, remember, by individual ants with no overseer, no one in charge, with no blueprints, and without any engineering degrees! Millions and millions of ants, all living in perfect harmony. And as far as we know, not one policeman or lawyer. Just kidding.


Methods of communication

Wouldn't millions of ants living together have to communicate? Yes, source (1) wrote about ant communication, "A majority of ant species also communicate by sound. They produce a high-pitched squeak by rubbing a thin, transverse scraper located on their waist against a washboard of fine, parallel ridges on the adjacent surface of the abdomen. The signal is barely audible to the human ear.... The squeaking serves one or more functions, depending on the species and on the circumstances."


Another mode of auditory communication,... is simply to rap the head on a hard surface.


But unlike humans, ant communications depend more on touch and smell than sounds. The touch and smell equipment is very elaborate. Notice:Source (7) adds this, "To ants, the senses of touch and smell are far more important.... The terminal portion of the funiculus is somewhat expanded and contains the organs of touch 1) From source (7) we learn 21 olfactory cones and 1,730 touch bristles have been counted on one ant antenna.

2) Another source (8) adds that more than 200 cones function as odor receptors on one antenna.


3) Our (1) reference adds despite all of the above, the preferred method of communication is by the release of chemicals.

4) Ants are actually walking batteries of exocrine glands, which manufacture a variety of substances.

5) The authors estimate that ant species generally employ between 10 and 20 such chemical "words" and "phrases", each conveying a distinct but very general meaning.

6) The categories of chemical messages include these: attraction, recruitment, alarm, identification of other castes, recognition of the larvae and other life stages, and discrimination between nest mates and strangers.


Our researcher (8) adds this information, "Every ant is a mini pharmacy of up to about ten compounds, with a different chemical in each gland."


Continuing with researcher (1), "The more familiar we became with the wars and daily lives of the weaver ants, the more sophisticated we found their communication systems to be. We discovered that weaver-ant workers not only guide one another to locations outside the nest, but employ five different "messages" by which they specify the nature of the target".


They inform us further, "The weaver ants, to summarize research of the past twenty years, have come very close to employing syntax in their chemical language - their use of various combinations of chemical "words" to transmit different "phrases". They even modulate the intensity of other, primary signals composed of touch and sound."


More facts from source (3) "When an ant is really excited and wants to pass on important information, such as the news that a large amount of food as been discovered, if performs a kind of dance, akin to those used by bees. The pattern of these quick, excited movements varies with different kinds of ants. Some run around in circles or spirals; others dodge from side to side in a wavy, zigzag path. At the same time certain glands in their bodies release special substances that have a stimulating effect on the other ants in the nest."


We have learned these creatures have elaborate communication systems. We have to wonder, was it all by accident? Where did the chemical apparatus come from to make 10 to 20 chemical "words" and "phrases"? How did the ants learn these systems? How does each creature understand what the other is telling him/her? How is this knowledge passed on to the offspring? Does evolution answer these questions, or is something more than evolution going on with such complex ant communication?


Any ants that build....gasp....houses?

What a timely question! A specie of ants called "Weaver ants" actually construct multi-room dwellings in the tops of trees. These structures are so vast some authors call them "pavilions".


Our reference (8) says they can be 65 feet high in a tree and that the "...massive nests which sometimes occupy a complex extending across several trees." Why do these ants build in the tops of trees?


Source (1) tells us that in certain areas only these tree top nests can safely shelter the huge ant populations. The author sees "...by evolving the ability to make some remarkable housing. They weave small branches and leaves together to create large rooms with walls, floors, and roofs."


Can you picture tiny ants weaving branches and leaves to create rooms of walls, floors, and ceilings? Doesn't something quite remarkable seem to be going on?


What in the world are "living bridges"?

The authors describe the construction process, "Up to hundreds of weaver ants line up side by side in militarily precise rows. They grip the edge of one leaf with the claws and pads of their hindlegs and the edge of the other with their jaws and forelegs, and haul the two together."


"When the gap between the leaves is wider than the length of the ant, the workers use another, even more impressive tactic,... they chain their bodies together to form living bridges. The lead worker seizes a leaf edge with her mandibles and holds fast. The next worker then climbs down her body and holds on. A third worker now climbs down to grip the second worker's waist, and so an ant upon ant, until chains ten workers long or more are formed, often swinging free in the wind."


"When an ant at the end of the chain finally reaches the edge of the distant leaf, she fastens her mandibles onto it, closing the span of the living bridge... Sometimes the gap can be closed with a single chain, but usually several such large ensembles are needed, with nest mates working side by side."


Source (3) tells us these living ant bridges "may be three to four inches long, and several chains may be in one operation at one time."


What in the world do "glue sticks" have to do with ants?

We have learned about the remarkable ways the leaves are brought together. But what holds them together? Adult ants, you see, are unable to make silk or glue themselves. But they have gotten around this problem. Let source (7) tell us their solution, "The Ocecophylla...have learned to utilize the silk produced by their larvae."


We are told in source (1), "Now other weaver-ant workers move into position to apply the white "glue"...threads of silk provided by the larvae of the colony."


The authors then say that the most amazing behavior of all is the way the silk threads are applied... "The larvae recruited are in the final stages of development... In the nest building process, such individuals are picked up by major workers,... and carried out to the leaf edges. Holding the larvae gently in their mandibles, much like a glue stick, the workers move their young charges back and forth across the leaf edges. The larvae respond by exuding threads of silk from a slit-shaped nozzle just below the mouth. Thousands of such threads stuck into place side by side spread as a whole into a sheet between the edges, in time to become a powerful adhesive that binds the leaves in place."

"The most distinctive feature of the larval behavior we witnessed, next to the release of the silk itself, is the rigidity with which the larva holds its body.... Turns itself into a largely passive instrument... it stays immobile and merely spins silk."


This gluing process is so remarkable, we will repeat it by another author (3) who describes it like this, "As these workers hold the leaves together, other workers approach, each holding in her mandibles a larva whose head is pointed forward. Each worker takes the larva she carries, and pinching it slightly, almost as thought it were a tube of toothpaste, the ant applies the larva's head first to the border of one leaf, then slowly moves it across to the other leaf. During this time, the larva has been exuding a viscous silk which, gradually, with many applications of silk by many larvae, joins the two leaves together."


What amazing behavior! Page 35 has a picture of a completed leaf nest done by tailor ants. How well done it is! This writer, who is a klutz-type of human, could not do nearly as well, even working from the outside seeing exactly what to do. Doesn't the scientific facts that these creatures do it from the inside, never seeing the whole project, but each worker seeing only their tiny portion, make their finished feat all the more amazing?


But the process is even more complicated, notice as source (1) gives us more detail, "In the nest building process... the worker [ant]... holds the larva in her mandibles so that the larva's head projects well out in front, as if it were an extension of her own body. The tips of her antennae are brought down to converge on the leaf edge. For two-tenths of a second the tips play along the surface... Then the worker brings the larva's head down to touch the surface. One second later she lifts it again. During this interval the worker vibrates the tips of her antennae around the larva's head, touching it lightly about ten times. The subtle tapping is evidently a signal for the larvae to release the silk."


"An instant before the larva is lifted from the leaf's edge, the worker raises and spreads her antennae. Then she turns her body and carries the larva directly to the edge of the opposing leaf, causing the silk to be drawn out as a thread. When she reaches this second surface, she repeats her earlier movements almost exactly. This time the larva touches the silk to the leaf and fastens the thread."


"Then both worker and larva return like tango dancers to the first edge to recommence the cycle. And so on metronomically, en masse, a rhythmic army of workers and larvae toils day after day, pulling together and sealing hundreds of pavilions across the great canopy empire. The ants add silken tunnels and rooms within the pavilions to create even tighter, more elaborate living quarters."


Humans building rooms and houses generally need to operate from blueprints, or from some kind of detailed written plan. Yet these specks of insects build rooms, even pavilions as labeled by one researcher, from tiny bits of material with no blueprint, no overseer, no ruler; hundreds, even thousands, working together as one unit.


Let's pause and consider how they carry their building project::

1) Hundreds of ants line up with military precision.

2) Each ant brings two edges of a leaf together.

3) If the distance is too far for one ant to do, several ants form living bridges.

4) Each ant holds on to the previous ant's waist, forming a chain of ten or so ants.

5) Quite often many such living bridges are needed in order to bring together the edges of a leaf.

6) The larvae, as they are used as "glue sticks", hold themselves rigid for the process, as they spin out silk threads that become an adhesive.

7) Another author sees the ants using living larvae like we use a toothpaste tube.

8) Exact timings are involved, one tenth of a second, and one second.

9) Yet, where are the timing mechanisms? Could evolution provide them?

10) The ant taps the larva about ten times to signal it to release its glue silk. Where is the counting mechanism?

11) A rhythmic army of ants and larvae toiling day after day, making hundreds of rooms; so many rooms together one researcher calls them pavilions.


Again we have to wonder, does evolution account for all of those scientific facts, or is something more, much more, displayed here?


Tool use by an ant specie

Ants that use tools? The authors tell us about the Conomyrma bicolor ants who have a surprising technique against their competitor for food - honey pot ants. It seems the honey-pot ants are about ten times larger than bicolor ants. The bicolor, in addition to their chemical weapons, have devised a surprising strategies to keep the larger ants in their nests so the bicolors can look for food with little interference.


"They also pick up pebbles and other small objects with their mandibles and drop them down the vertical entrance shaft. Although no one knows exactly how the stone-dropping alters the behavior of the honey pot workers within the target nests, the effect is to reduce the amount of outside foraging they attempt. It is one of the rare instances of tool use among animals."


Gathering and then dropping pebbles into a nest hole? As usual, we have to wonder how they evolved this technique, how they happened upon such unlikely behavior, and how was this knowledge passed on to their offspring?


Remember we just read about larvae being used as glue sticks or like a toothpaste tube? The author of the book (5) sees the ants performing the gluing procedure as using a tool. Notice, "They use the larvae in somewhat the manner of a loom shuttle; seizing one in their jaws they systematically touch the edge of the leaves in question with end of the silk canal, leaving a sticky thread at each point until a complete tissue is built up. This is important, for what they are doing is neither more nor less than using a tool. [the author's italics.]


Could there be ants that are farmers?

We are told about them (1), "With the closely related genus Acromyrmex... the species of Atta are unique among animals in their ability to grow fungi on fresh vegetation brought into their nests. They are true agriculturists."


"The [Atta] sustain their agriculture through a near-miraculous [note the authors' own wording] series of small, precise steps conducted in underground chambers."


Source (3) tells us about the farming process:

1) The fungus is grown, very much as we grow mushrooms,

2) in special beds prepared by the ants from green leaves they gather from trees and bushes near the nest,

3) The leaves are chewed and mixed with saliva and the resulting mass is built into mounds of compost.

4) Small pieces of fungus are then planted in the beds and soon begin to grow.

5) As the fine fungus spread through the beds they develop little knobby heads, usually called kohlrabi because they look rather like that vegetable. It is these swollen parts that the ants eat and feed to their larvae.


Source (4) adds some interesting details of leaf gathering:

1) The ants go out of the nests in crowds by day, along routes over one half mile long.

2) The workers cut more or less circular pieces out of leaves with their long, scissor-like mandibles.

3) They do this by turning around one leg like a compass, so that a leaf in proportion to each worker's size is cut.


The author of (8) describes observing ants gathering leaves, "We missed nothing, not even that green ribbon that turned out to be ants trudging across the road - a procession of leafcutter, or parasol, ants carrying pieces of leaves over their heads. Stepping out of the car, we followed the parade on foot. A few hundred feet off the road, the ribbon led to a massive clearing on high ground where a series of mounds, turrets, and air holes marked the roof of a single, vast leafcutter colony."



What happens when the leaves are brought inside the nest?


Farming inside the nest

More elaborate procedures take place inside the nest as source (4) continues."first of all the leaf is thoroughly scraped and licked. This may remove foreign fungi, which would otherwise infect the gardens. Next the leaf may be cut up if it large. After this the main preparation begins. The ant repeatedly cuts the leaf in half, keeping only one half each time, until it has a piece no bigger than its own head. The rejected leaves are taken in charge by other workers. After this the small piece of leaf is crimped round its edges by its mandibles, and both its surfaces are scarified. It is now quite limp and can be rolled into a ball."


"The ant carries the ball of kneaded leaf to the fungus beds, jabs it in with a sharp movement of its head and firms it well with its forelegs."


Our source (3) adds this information, "Atta ants produce a number of very small workers who are too weak to gather leaves. Their whole lives are spent weeding the mushroom beds and keeping them free from mold and other unwanted fungi that would otherwise gain hold in the nest."


Let's summarize the complicated steps carried out by these "true agriculturists".

1) The ants go out as far as a half-mile or more to gather leaves.

2) The leaves are brought into the nest where they are thoroughly scraped and licked.

3) Foreign fungi that would infect the garden are removed.

4) The ants keep cutting the leaves in half, until the piece is about the size of its own head.

5) The ant crimps this small piece around the edges.

6) It is then rolled into a ball.

7) The ant carries the ball of kneaded leaves to the fungus beds and firms it in.

8) Other ants weed the mushroom gardens, and keep them free from mold and harmful fungi.


We have to wonder, if evolution is true, how could ants learn all of this accidentally, one step at a time? Isn't this a whole procedure that all hangs together?


How a leafcutter (Atta) queen starts a new nest

We learn more about complicated ant behavior as we study how a new queen begins her nest. From our source (3) we learn:

1) A virgin queen starts out on her mating flight.

2) She always takes with her a small piece of the fungus in a special little pocket underneath her mouth.

3) After she has mated, she shuts herself up in an underground cell.

4) She at once starts a fungus garden, planting the piece of fungus she has brought with her and fertilizing it with her own excrement.


Our source (1) then continues the story, "

5) She descends to the ground and rakes off her four wings at the base, rendering herself forever earthbound.

6) She then digs a vertical shaft one half to 5/8 inches in diameter straight down into the soil.

7) At about 8 inches she widens the shaft to form a room 2 and 3/8 inches across.

8) Finally, she settles into the chamber to cultivate a new garden and rear her brood."


"But wait" - the authors exclaim - "how can the queen raise a garden if she left the symbiotic fungus behind in the mother nest? No problem - she did not leave it behind. Just before the nuptial flight, she tucked a wad of the threadlike hyphae into a small pocket in the bottom of her mouth cavity. Now she spits out the packet into the chamber floor. Her garden started, she soon afterward lays 3 to 6 eggs."

9) The process continues as the queen keeps the eggs and larvae apart, until they reach a certain size, when she brings the two together.

10) Until the first workers emerge in 40 to 60 days, the queen cultivates the fungus garden by herself.

11) Every hour or so she tears out a small fragment of the garden, touches the fragment to her abdomen, which impregnates it with a droplet of her fecal matter.

12) The queen then places the impregnated fragment back in the garden.


What has the busy queen lived on during this time? Her only source of food was her wing muscles you remember her tearing off, and the fat from her own body. As the authors poetically put it,"She grows lighter by the day, caught in a race between starvation and the creation of a force of workers adequate to prolong her life."


13) At last workers appear and feed on the fungus prepared by the queen. After a week or so they go outside and start forage for leaves to bring into the garden. At this point, we are back to the segment previously covered.

14) Her nest established, the process working, the queen now takes up her duties as egg laying machine. The job she will faithfully carry out for the rest of her life.


Source (8) provides a picturesque summary to this segment about a new ant queen. "Then slowly she slips away to pick up a leaf piece and carry it over to her colony entrance. To see the queen struggling alone, it's hard to imagine that this single individual living in her tiny, modest hole in the ground may one day become the founder of a vast empire of gardens, with the roof stretching from twenty feet to fifty feet or more across, and at least twenty feet down in the ground, with hundreds of entrance and ventilation holes and up to 7 million inhabitants."


The above summary paragraph is certainly picturesque, but isn't it more than that? Don't we detect awe and respect, even fondness, from our scientific ant researcher?


A short review of what we learned about a queen ant

Let's review the science that was revealed to us.

1) The queen, in a special pouch for the purpose, takes the vital small piece of fungus needed to start her new garden.

2) After her flight, the queen then removes her own wings.

3) The now useless wing muscles, together with body fat, become her food until the garden is ready.

4) She digs a shaft about 8 inches deep, and enlarges a room at the bottom.

5) She spits out a wad of hyphae, carried on her nuptial flight, to start her garden.

6) Every hour or so she impregnates the starting mushroom mass with her bodily fluids.

7) After workers are born, one set gathers bits of leaves from outside the nest.

8) Another set clips the bits of leaves into smaller fragments.

9) Another set crushes the smaller fragments and their mold into piles of similar material.

10) Another set re-arranges less dense growth onto better spots in the pile of material.

11) Yet another set patrols the pile, licking surfaces clean and picking out alien matter.


More about leafcutter (Atta) gardens

As we read about, the queen uses for energy her 1) body fat and 2) the wing muscles she bit off. With those resources rapidly running down over a period of weeks, the queen must create a perfectly balanced work force on her first try. There is no room for error.


The authors point out that the Atta (leafcutter) colony expands to its mighty force, from workers to giant soldiers, through exactly controlled life stages. Individual ant sizes grow right along with the colony population.


More about ant nests

I love the sub-title of the source (5) book, which is "A Science Fiction Universe". Notice the incredible amount of work that went into Leafcutter ant nests:

1) Some have had forty tons of earth excavated from them,

2) Some contain thousands of chambers where finely minced leaves are sown with the fungus.

3) One researcher studied one of these nests and counted 1,920 chambers,

4) of which 248 contained an active fungus garden weighing over 200 pounds.

5) The untiring workers must have carried down more than five tons of leaves.


More information is provided by source (1) that calls the ultimate size of leafcutter colonies as enormous.

1) The record may be attained by Atta sexdensat with 5 to 8 million inhabitants.

2) One nest excavated in Brazil comprised over a thousand chambers varying in size from a closed fist to a soccer ball.

3) The nests also include "dump chambers" filled with used up vegetation.

4) The loose soil that had been brought out and piled on the ground by the ants, when shoveled off and measured, occupied 800 cubic feet, and weighed approximately 44 tons.


That feat by ants put in human terms

How much work did the tiny ants do if put into human terms? The authors (1) answered that the construction of just one such nest is easily equivalent, in human terms, of building the Great Wall of China! It requires, roughly:

1) a billion ant loads to build,

2) each load weighing four or five times as much as a worker ant. 3) Each load was hauled straight up from depths in the soil equivalent, again in human terms, to as much as 5/8 of a mile.

4) While making a comparison, the authors noted that the forager looking for leaves runs along the trail for a distance of about 9 miles at a velocity of 16 miles per hour."

We will now end this part about Leafcutter (Atta) ants. It has been a long segment because ant researchers have found a lot of scientific facts to report about the surprising and complex things they do.

Ant use in the computer world

A business magazines I read recently reviewed a book titled "The Info Mesa"(2). The word ants caught my attention.


"Next up is Dr. Stuart A. Kauffman, co-founder of BiosGroup, Inc. Kauffman tackled complexity using an army of "ants" - small software entities called agents that are modeled after the dynamics of ant colonies."


"His explorations with agents helped Southwest Airlines Co. improve its cargo operations and streamlined the supply chain at Proctor and Gamble Co. The solution devised for Southwest Airlines shows just how non-intuitive the results drawn from biologically inspired simulations can be."


"Simulations showed this would slash freight transfers by 30% and cut labor costs by 20% - and it ended up saving Southwest more than $10 million dollars in the first year of operation."


So even the highly technical world of computers has found it worth while to take a closer look at ants! Michael Crichton, a best selling fiction author who has a scientific focus, mentioned in his novel, Prey", that computer programmers are learning a lot from their study of ant (and termite) collective behavior.


A summer and winter home partnership

Source (1) tells us about the partnership that exists between the Atemeles [beetle] and the Formica and Myrmica ant species. The three lives are synchronized in such a way that the beetles can take maximum advantage of the social life of each of the two species that serve as hosts.


The objective of the beetles is two-fold, 1) locate a nest, and 2) secure adoption by the ants in a potentially dangerous environment. Notice the intricate steps involved in this strange partnership.


"First, the beetle taps one of the worker ants lightly with its antennae as though trying to gain the ant's attention.

Then it raises the tip of the abdomen and points it at the ant.

it raises the tip of the abdomen and points it at the ant.

This action attracts the ant to a second series of glands located along the sides of the abdomen. The beetle lowers its abdomen in order to permit the ant to approach this part of the body.

action attracts the ant to a second series of glands located along the sides of the abdomen. The beetle lowers its abdomen in order to permit the ant to approach this part of the body.

For what purpose was the above? So the beetle can reach the safety of the ant brood chamber. The glandular openings are surrounded by bristles, which are grasped by the ant and used as handles to carry the beetle into the brood chambers.


Inside the nest the beetles live in the brood chambers of their hosts, preying on the ant larvae and pupae. The beetles exploit the partnership even to the extent that they solicit food from adult ants by imitating the food-begging signals of the ants.


Summarizing the ants remarkable behavior, the authors wrote, "Propaganda, slavery, decoding, entrapping, mimicry, panhandling, Trojan horses, highwaymen, cuckoos; they are all present among the ants and the predators and social parasites that victimize them. Such words may seem unduly anthropomorphic, turning ants and their associates into little people." Isn't that a remarkable conclusion?


A mutually beneficial relationship

We learn of another partnership. Aphids frequently associated with ants tend to be less able to repel their enemies. So a partnership takes place - defend me and I will feed you.


The authors of source (1) first mention there are aphid species that do not depend on ant protectors. These species behave differently than the ant protected ones - propelling their honeydew type droplets away from their body. They then point out,


"In contrast, the trophobiont aphids make no effort to get rid of their honeydew, but present the material in a manner that lets the ants feed efficiently. They ease out droplets, one at a time and hold them for a while on the tips of their abdomens... Many species possess a basket of hairs that holds the honeydew firmly in place. If a droplet is not accepted by the worker ants, the aphid often draws it back... to be offered at a later time"


"Honeydew has thus been converted in the course of evolution from mere excrement into valuable barter. What do the tropobionts receive for this service to the ants? The primary answer is the superb defense force provided by the ants. The ants drive off the parasitic wasps and flies that would otherwise inject eggs into the aphid's bodies. They also drive away the lacewing larvae, beetles and other predators... The trophobiont herds grow large and densely packed under the ant's protection.


Ants that care for another specie

This relationship works so efficiently that in some cases their ant caretakers move them from one place to another to provide better protection or fresher food sources!


An example of this is the American corn-root aphid and their partner, the ant specie Lasius neoniger. In winter, the ants keep the aphids right along with them in their nests.


The following spring workers ants transport the newly hatched nymphs to the roots of nearby plants. But ant care doesn't end there. If the plants die, the ants move the aphids to other, undisturbed root systems.


Source (1) describes the process. "The Lasius workers incorporate their guests into the colony in the fullest sense. They mix the aphid eggs with their own. And when they emigrate to a new site, they pick up the eggs - or in the warm season - the nymphs and adults and transport them gently and unharmed to the new location."


".... They carry the insects not only to a plant on which the trophobionts might feed, but also to the correct species of plant - and more precisely, to the part of the plant appropriate to the correct stage of the insects' development."


What is going on here? Let's reflect on what we were told. The ants actually take their little friends to the plants they need to feed on. Not just to the correct specie of plant, but straight to the particular part of the plant they need at that part of the little friends development. If the plants die, they move them to new plants. If the ant colony moves, it takes its friends with them.


Is this behavior we would expect from evolution? Doesn't this amazing concern for another species raise some questions?

1) Why would ants have any concern whatsoever for the care of another species?

2) How did they learn what plants the other species needed for their food?

3) Moreover how did they learn what part of the plant they needed? Even more amazing, we are told the correct part changes as their tiny friend grows and matures.

4) How did ants learn these changes; exactly which plant parts have to be fed their friends and match that up with the stages in their growth?


Isn't this entire behavior over and above what accidental evolution could bring about?


Are "cattle" owned by ants?

Our authors add, "Many ants build special shelters for their aphid herds. Usually these are made of fine grains of soil cemented together, but other materials may be used. The tropical weaver ants build special silken tents for their cattle.. Quite often the "cattle sheds" are connected to the nest by covered ways so that the ants go out in all weather to tend their charges."


This incredible story does not end there. The authors inform us, "Even more impressively, the queens of a few ant species carry scale insects... when they depart from the nest on their nuptial flights. After mating and settling to the ground, they are ready to start a new colony with a mother tropobiont in place to provide honeydew. This activity, comparable to human homesteading with a pregnant cow in tow..."


There is yet one more addition. "When presented with excessive numbers of the trophobionts in experiments, weaver-ant workers were observed to kill individuals until the population reached the level needed for a sufficient but not excessive flow of honeydew."


Whew! Can you think of still more questions?

1) Doesn't this sound like the way a human stock raiser would cull his herd?

2) How does a group of ants decide exactly how many tropobionts to kill?

3) Wouldn't this require a decision based on honeydew needs vs. the size of the tropobiont herd? 4) Who or what makes such a decision?

5) How is the order given that you and you and you kill a tropobiont?

6) Who or what gives such an order anyway? Does the evolution scenario explain any of this?

or what gives such an order anyway? Does the evolution scenario explain any of this?


Doesn't it seem that something is going on that is far above what mindless, accidental evolution would ever be able to accomplish?


The first livestock herders?

According to souce (1), it wasn't until the early 1980s that the "Most complete and remarkable trophobiosis of all was discovered... It consists of a way of life never before encountered in ants: true nomadism, or full migratory herding. The ant colonies live as stock farmers."


"They subsist entirely on their herds and closely coordinate their lifestyle with that of the livestock, while accompanying them from one pasture to the next."


"The ants are Dolichoderus cuspidatus... and the "cattle" are mealybugs of the genus Malaicoccus. The mealybugs feed entirely on the phloem sap of trees and shrubs of the forest. The ants carry them to the feeding sites, some of which are more than 60 feet from the nests.... The trophobionts are treated as full members in the herder colony.... They are viviparous, giving live birth to their young in the secure heart of the [ant] worker mass.... Since the young, sap-laden plant shoots preferred by the bugs are quickly exhausted, the ants frequently have to locate new feeding sites and they transfer the grazing herds to them."


"When the distance between the nest and the feeding site becomes too large... the Dolichoderus colony simply moves en masse to the feeding site. During the emigration the brood and mealybugs are carried in a well-organized manner, parked at intervals in depots scattered along the odor trail, then moved along until the entire colony is at its final destination."


"At the feeding sites the mealybugs are always attended by Dolichoderus workers, which continually harvest the honeydew droplets... They emit droplets from time to time and hold them in long bristles on their bodies in a position that allows the fluid to be licked up by the ants."


Folks, quotes, like the long one above, from evolution supporting researchers are better than anything I could make up. Remarkable behavior indeed. And bonus question. Are these "long bristles", which are needed to hold the droplets for the ants feeding, are there by accident, or by design? .


We are told of more strange behavior. When the area is disturbed, ants and mealybugs become excited, single mealybugs crawl on top of ants. The ants ... "pluck them off and carry out of harm's way... The larger mealybugs raise their bodies in a pose that clearly invites the ants to pick them up."


Logically, we are faced with similar questions we had with the ant/aphid relationship.

1) How did ants make the connection between needing food and mealybugs becoming that food?

2) How did ants learn precisely what food the mealybugs need for their diet?

3) How did ants make the connection that if we carry mealybugs from food source to food source they will continue to be our food supply?


Temperature control when heat is needed

What about ants that live in cold climates? Our source (1) tells us, "The massive constructions of the red and black wood ants... are familiar sights in the forests of northern Europe. Rising as much as 5 feet above ground level, the mounds are designed to raise the temperature of the ants inside... The outer crustlike layer reduces loss of heat and moisture, while the enlarged area of the surface exposes the nest to more sunlight."


My note: hmm, could some skilled planning and design have been involved? If so, from where?


An unusual human use for ant mounds

How about ant mounds as compasses? Notice what source (1) tells us, "The mounds of some Formica species also have longer southern slopes, which further increases the amount of solar energy collected. These slopes are so consistently oriented that for centuries the nests have been used as crude compasses by natives of the Alps."


Such a short, matter-of-fact one sentence. But it tells so much! And it's the (self-appointed) job of Creation Corner to analyze in depth such quick, easy statements given by evolutionists, which are so easily passed over by readers.


Instead of quickly passing over, lets stop and wonder:

1) Did the ants learn by evolutionary experimentation that long southern slopes caught more sun? 2) If so, how many generations might it have taken? What happened in the meantime?

3) How do the ants know which is south?

4) Who or what controls individual ants so that, acting together as one unit, they construct a five-foot tall mound that stays precisely oriented to the south?

5) Wouldn't humans need a compass and constant overseeing, measuring, and monitoring?


Temperature control with variations

We are also told by source (1) how leafcutter ants maintain optimum conditions of heat and humidity, "This is accomplished, at least in part, by the opening and closing of entrances, as conditions require. In addition, the ants collect leaves only within certain temperature and humidity ranges, which may be, in part, to prevent bringing too much moisture or heat into the nest. For example, they usually do not collect wet leaves; neither do they venture out in extreme heat. Often they do their cutting at night when it is cooler."


Temperature control when there is too much sun

Some ants that live in hot areas have a problem with the sun overheating their nests. What to do?

Their solutions, based on solid engineering principles, include these(11). "Some ants, such as the Pogonomyrmex harvester ants of the American deserts and grasslands, decorate the surface of their mounds, variously with small pebbles, fragments of dead leaves and other vegetation, and pieces of charcoal. These dry materials heat rapidly in the sun and serve as solar energy traps. On the high plains of Afghanistan, colonies of Cataglyphis sprinkle their mounds with small stones. Pogonomyrmex harvester ants in the western United States regularly add fossil bones of small mammals to the outer decoration zones of their nest surfaces."


We have to wonder, how could evolution make the connection between:

1) pebbles, pieces of charcoal, and fossil bones,

2) being brought back to the nest,

3) spread on the outside,

4) and most intriguing of all, then make the connection that these bits of material soak up sun heat to lower the temperature inside the mound?


That something wonderful takes place in these scientifically observed activities is evident, but did mindless evolution bring them about? Isn't it the more logical answer that all of the above is explained by programming, programming from an intelligent source?


Lack of moisture - even more danger than temperature

We are told by source (1), "The greatest peril of the physical environment faced by ants is not excessive heat or cold or drowning (most can live under water for hours, even days), but drought. Colonies of most species need an ambient humidity higher than that of the outside air, and they face death within hours if exposed to very dry air. Ants therefore employ a diversity of techniques, some approaching the bizarre, to raise and regulate humidity in the nest chambers."


Sometimes nest construction methods solve the problem. Notice, "Mounds, for example, appear to be constructed to keep just not the temperature, but also the moisture of the soil and air within tolerable limits. The thick crust and thatching reduce evaporation... In addition nurse workers move the immature forms up and down through the vertical passageways to reach optimum humidity."


Another form of humidity control is this one. "A radically different form of humidity control is practiced by Pachycondyla villosa... During the dry season colonies living in arid habitats are in constant danger of desiccation. Gangs of workers make repeated trips to collect dew from nearby vegetation or water from any other source they can find. They gather the droplets between their widely opened mandibles and carry them back to the nest,... they pause and allow thirsty nestmates to drink some... The remainder is then fed to larvae, daubed onto cocoons, and placed directly on the ground. Using this bucket brigade the... foragers keep the interior of the nest much moister than the surrounding soil."


Obtaining the vital moisture is handled differently by the Asiatic ant Diacamma rugosum. "... "Workers decorate the entrances of their nests with highly absorbent objects such as bird feathers and dead ants. In the early morning hours the dew forming on this material is gathered by the Diacamma workers. During the dry season the droplets appear to be the only source of water for the ants."


How did these ants learn this strange, yet highly effective, behavior? We were told it appears to be their only source of water, so under evolution it had to learned by the very first generation of Diacamma ants didn't it?


This is even harder to learn

Next we learn about ants with the opposite problem, which they solve in an even harder to learn way. Notice from source (1) "...equally strange form of humidity control is "wallpapering" by Prionopelta amabilis,... The colony typically constructs nests in logs and other fragments of rotting wood on the forest floor, materials that are saturated with water a large part of the year. The problem experienced by these little ants is thus the opposite faced by that of the ponerines in dry woodland. Too much surface moisture can impede the development of young ants. Eggs and larvae can be kept on bare wet surfaces of the wood, but the pupae need a drier environment."


"The workers solve the problem by papering over some of the rooms and galleries with fragments of pupal cocoons from which adults have previously emerged. Sometimes the pieces are piled on top of one another to form several layers. The rooms have drier surfaces than others left bare, and the workers take care to move the pupae into them"


What an intelligent solution to a potentially serious problem. How did ants figure it out?


How ants handle harmful bacteria

Let's move on to another area. As we know, harmful bacteria thrive in moist conditions. How do the ants cope with this different danger? Our authors answer, "Nests located in the moist soil or in rotting wood are ideal growth chambers for countless bacteria and fungi that are potential health hazards for the ants. Nevertheless, ant colonies are rarely struck by bacterial or fungal infections... the glands in the thorax of adult ants continuously secrete substances that kill bacteria and fungi. Most remarkably, the fungus cultivated by the leafcutter ants Atta is not affected by the secretions, but all other foreign fungi or bacteria attempting to invade the Atta fungus gardens are totally eliminated."


Does it seem remarkable to you that exactly needed extra bacteria killing substances happen to be supplied, and stranger yet, the needed fungus grown as food is spared death while other fungi or bacteria are killed?


Ants as....gasp.... farmers that operate granaries!

Several species including Messor barbarus, Messor structor, Messor arenarius actually gather seeds and store them in underground granaries. For centuries scientists did not believe ancient writers like Pliny and Phitarch who had who reported that ants processed seeds and stored them. It was not until the 1870's that a Rev. Moggridge, during a sojourn in southern France, explored ant seed harvesting in detail. Thanks to him, we know at least three ant species:

1) gather seeds.

2) process them.

3) and store them.


Source (4) tells the story,. ..."the very species [Messor barbarus and structor] that had been studied by the ancients. He opened the nests of these ants and studied their granaries, which are flat chambers connected by galleries and irregularly scattered over an area nearly 6 feet in diameter and to a depth of about 14 inches in the soil.


"He saw the workers collect the seeds from the ground or even pluck them from plants, remove their envelopes and cast the chaff and empty capsules on the kitchen middens outside the nests.... Among the stores in the granaries he was able to recognize seeds belonging to at least eighteen different families of plants."


As startling as the above was, this writer found this even more so, "In confirmation of Pliny and Plutarch [the ancients] he maintains that the ants bite off the radicle to prevent the seeds from germinating, a process which is also arrested by bringing them when damp with rain to the surface, spreading them in the sun and then carrying them back to the granaries."


I couldn't make up stuff as good as that!


This is no small matter because their granaries can be up six feet in diameter. Now, as any farmer knows, there are two big problems that can develop when grains, or seeds, are stored:

1) If too damp, they will spoil.

2) The grain or seeds cannot be allowed to germinate.


But don't worry, as explained by researchers, our tiny granary experts have solved both problems.

1) They examine the seeds for dampness. If too damp, (hmmm, seems like some decision making skills here) they carry the seeds outside to dry in the sun.

2) When dry enough (more decisions?) they bring the seeds back to the granary.

3) The ants further process the seeds by biting off the vital part off the vital part that prevents the seed from germinating.


The questions raised by this behavior just leap out at us. (But apparently not at evolutionists).

How in the world did these tiny ants learn about dampness and about germinating? And learn it, by the way, on 18 different varieties of seeds?


How could mindless evolution make the connection between the biting off on a specific part of a seed with the end result - some months later - that germination has been prevented?


Isn't what these ants do a surprising example of cause and affect? How likely does it seem to you that early ant generations kept biting off different parts of a seed, waited months to see the result, then....."oops, wrong part, this one germinates, got to try another part next year"?


As we have to admit, coming up with the exact part of a seed to bite requires:

1) planning,

2) waiting,

3) observation,

4) and decision.


Certainly it seems impossible to do by mindless accident. I submit to you that evolution could not have realized the problem, done the experimenting, found the solution, and instructed early ant generations of the answers.


To further make my point, remember the ants know the exact part on eighteen different seeds. So what seems impossible for them to do on one seed, is 17 times more impossible because it would have had to have been done another 17 times on 17 other seeds.


Isn't the more likely conclusion that these bizarre, yet highly effective strategies, were programmed into the ants by an intelligent being?


How about ants that need to store water in barrels?

Source (3) informs us about more remarkable ant behavior. "The Chilean desert ant, Tapinoma antarcticum, lays in stores of liquid in the form of juices sucked from cactus plants. These ants have no storage cells to hold liquid, so they have developed a clever method of building up a reserve of liquid. A number of worker ants in each nest are trained from their earliest days to act as water barrels. They are fed juice by the foraging ants until their gasters swell out like peas and seem near to bursting. They then retain all this liquid in their crops and gradually feed it back to the workers as required."


"The ants most famed for their liquid stores are the Myrmecocystus, the honey ants. The special workers, known as repletes or honeypots, are pumped so full of sweet juices that their gasters become completely spherical and transparent and they are quite unable to move. Special chambers are prepared for them, in which they hang from the ceiling, and there they remain, motionless, just waiting to be "tapped" by other workers, when no more food can be found outside the nest."


A picture of a replete is on page 24. The swollen storage bag appears about four times bigger than the ant itself. The researcher sees "training" We have to wonder, how are the water barrels "trained"? We are told a certain number are trained, who or what decides the number, who or what says we have enough water barrels? Isn't something going on here that is far beyond accidental evolution?

As added information, source (7) says these ant storage bags called "repletes" or "honeypots" "will hang motionless sometimes for two years".


Rapid change vs. no change

We know that unrelenting change is at the heart and core of evolution doctrine.


But notice what is pointed out by source (1). "Ants have lived on Earth for more than ten million of their generations; we have existed for no more than a hundred thousand human generations. They have evolved hardly at all during the past two million years.


That ants have not evolved hardly at all is so important to this section of the article that it might be good to establish that from more than one author. Our source (5) tells us, "...the Eocene and Oligocene strata of about 80 million years ago,...and often nothing would distinguish the [ant] fossil from present-day species, were it not for its respectable age."


How about one more? Source (7) says this, "Now, some 35 million or more years later, occasional pieces of this fossil resin, known as Baltic Amber, are found...Entombed within this amber have been found many ants, excellently preserved. In their structure, they had reached generally the state of development in which we find ants today.


As a side note, source (8) tells us about another specie that hasn't changed in multiple times more years. Notice, "Of all known insects, the springtails...are the oldest and have flourished almost unchanged for 400 million years."


Ants have not evolved hardly at all during 10,000,000 generations, or if put in years -35 to 80 million years?


But wait a minute. What does evolution teach happened to man? In a far shorter time span evolutionists insist man's human body evolved from ape bodies. Not only that, they insist that in the same short span man's communication system evolved from grunts to thousands of languages, all with very precise rules of grammar and of pronunciation.


In other words, if evolution is true, this what evolutionists teach us had to have occurred:


In ten million generations ants have not made noticeable changes.

In contrast, in 9,900,000 fewer generations man supposedly made massive changes - from an ape body to human skills and body.

In ten million generations ant language never changed, failing to follow evolution scenario, it never evolved higher and better.

In contrast, in 9,900,000 fewer generations, man supposedly evolved from ape grunts to thousands of complex languages.


Do those needed comparisons make sense to you? Sorry, dear reader, but to this writer, as they say today, "Something about that doesn't compute." Does it compare for you?


This whole point is so critical, I will risk boredom by working it yet another way: Isn't the whole basis, the very foundation, of evolution change, unrelenting change? How can there be little or no change in ants, (plus others as noted)while on the other hand, in comparatively no time at all, there were supposedly massive changes that resulted in humans?


In this case, does evolution fit its own dogma, its own facts? Apparently not in this one about ants. Could the theory itself be wrong?


Let's add one more factor

But there is more along those lines. The evolution supporting book (5) adds a most important factor. Notice, "I daydream of the ants origins in the forests of the Tertiary era, 80 million years ago. On a planet swarming with life, but where man was not to appear for another eight hundred thousand centuries, the ants were already there, and had been for a long time too, no doubt, very probably doing exactly the same tasks that they do today. They practiced agriculture, raised cattle, indulged in the art of war."


The author then poses a profound question: "Why did the flame of intelligence arise in us and not in them? They had a big start over us and had a greater chance of its happening."

Isn't that an important factor to point out that ants should be evolved a lot higher today because of the big start - or higher base- they would have evolved from?

Source (8) writes about this higher base, "Ants are not only extremely successful today, but they have been successful for a long, long time. If you define success as predominance in numbers and territory, then ants may be the most successful terrestrial creatures that have ever lived."

Source (3) also saw this higher base as the author wrote, "Early myrmecologists were so impressed by the social organization they found among the ants that they began to regard them as creatures with almost human powers of intellect." Although the author acknowledges ants have little power of reasoning, he points out, "But they do agree [modern myrmecologists] that...ants have mental facilities and brain development superior to other insects."


Isn't that a remarkable picture our authors have drawn for us? Their logic is inescapable. Evolution says that ten million generations ago, or put in years, up to 80 million years ago, lived ants, much the same as today's ants. The first ants had these advantages to give them an extra evolutionary "push":

Ants kept "cattle".

Ants harvested and processed seeds as food.

Ants stored grain in "granaries".

Ants established and tended gardens.

Ants practiced organized warfare against their enemies.

Ants had what appears to be an ability to make decisions.

Ants constructed dwellings with walls, floors, and ceilings.

Ants employed sophisticated communications of up to twenty words and phrases.

Ants had a high social order. One researcher told us ants had 45,000 inter-connected nests stretching across a square mile. Some nests have 7 million inhabitants.

If evolution is true, wouldn't ants with those substantial advantages have evolved into the dominant specie? If evolution is true, then wouldn't ants have soon surpassed far lesser species in intelligent behavior and accomplishments?


So in the ants evolution - which says it gets better and better, has had up to eighty million years to prove itself - and has not done so.





Doesn't it seem that in ants we have proof that the theory of evolution is simply not true? Is simply not scientific fact?


Doesn't it seem more likely that a creator:

1) programmed certain traits and abilities into ants,

2) and that is as far and as high as ants are allowed to go?

A review of scientific facts about the lowly ant

Whew! Ants sure do a lot. No wonder they have been a fascinating study for so many scientists for so long. We have taken a closer look at the lowly ant. Let's review some of what we learned:

1 Ants have sophisticated communications; sounds, plus chemicals of 10 to 20 words and phrases.

2) We were told ants till more soil than is tilled by either earthworms or man.

3) One ant nest was measured and it was found 44 tons tons of soil had been tilled.

4) Weaver ants build elaborate series of rooms, so large researchers call them pavilions.

5) They build them without blueprints, a foreman or overseer.

6) As part of their building process, ants will chain themselves together as living bridges.

7) Larvae, that hold themselves rigid, are used as "glue sticks".

8) Timing of one tenth of a second and one second are involved.

of one tenth of a second and one second are involved.

9) Counting of about ten taps are also involved.

of about ten taps are also involved.

10) One underground ant supercolony had 2,000 rooms and 45,000 inter-connections.

11) The authors report tool use is involved when certain ants find and use pebbles.

12) Atta ants are called "true agriculturists" as they raise and harvest a mushroom like food.

ants are called "true agriculturists" as they raise and harvest a mushroom like food.

13) A very successful computer program was developed based on the study of ant behavior and complexity.

14) Atemeles beetles are parasites living with ants, one home for summer, another for winter.

15) Some ants live on aphid honeydew. They actually take the aphids to the plants they feed on.

16) Not only take the aphids to the right plant, but to the particular part of the plant the aphids need at that stage of their development.

17) When the aphids become too numerous, the ants kill off just the right number.

18) One specie of ants is revealed as stock farmers, performing "full migratory herding".

19) Some ant species build five foot high mounds, with long southern slopes to pick up maximum heat.

20) Some ant species gather small pebbles, leaves, and pieces of charcoal to spread on their mounds, which under engineering principles absorbs heat.

21) The ancients were right; some ant species actually operate underground granaries.

22) These granary operators are able to select damp seeds, put them in the sun, and return them when dry to the granary.

23) The granary operators cut off the vital part on 18 different seeds to prevent them germinating in the granary.

24) Some ants train others to be "barrels", storing precious liquids for future use.

25) Ants have evolved hardly at all during the past two, some say 80 million, years.

26) Yet in just a fraction of that time, man supposedly made massive evolutionary changes.


A final question

We now have to ask, did all that we studied about ants happen by:

accidental, mindless evolution,


by intelligence, by a creator?


You decide which one makes more sense to you.

C. Frazier Spencer

References and footnotes:

Note: As is my custom, italics, boldface, or underlining have been added to some quotes for emphasis. Also I took the liberty of changing metric quotes into inches for my USA readers.

(1) "Journey to the Ants" by Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson, published 1994 by Belknap Press of Harvard University.

(2) "The Info Mesa" by Ed Regis, published by Norton Publishing.

(3) "Ants from Close Up" by L. Hugh Newman published 1967 by Thomas Y Crowell Co., NY.

(4) "An Introduction to the Behavior of Ants" by John H. Sudd, published 1967 by St. Martin's Press, NY.

(5) "The World of Ants" by Remy Chauvin published 1970 by Hill and Wang, NY.

(6) "Ants their Structure, Development, and Behavior" by Wm. Morton Wheeler, published 1965 by Columbia University Press.

(7) "All About Ants" by Peggy Pickering Larson and Melvin W. Larson, published 1965 by World Publishing Co., Cleveland, OH

(8) "The Earth Dwellers" by Erich Hoyt, published 1996 by Simon & Schuster, NY.

(9) "Seldom Noticed, yet Vital Systems", a previous Creation Corner article.

(10) "Weird Nature" by John Downer, published 2002 by Firefly Books, Buffalo, NY 14205.

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