Social Insects Can Wage Total War

Two Plectroctena ants fighting over territory in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (Muhammad Mahdi Karim via Wikicommons under GFDL 1.2)

When It Comes to Waging War, Ants and Humans Have a Lot in Common
by Mark W. Moffett, Undark Magazine

Look closely enough, and you’ll find that modern societies resemble those of certain ants much more than our nearest relatives, the chimpanzee and bonobo. No chimp has to create highways, traffic rules, and infrastructure; participate in assembly lines and complex teamwork; or allocate a labor force for effective division of labor — the list goes on.

The reason is that societies of all species have organizational imperatives that depend on size, and only humans and certain social insects have populations that can explode into the millions. A chimpanzee community with a hundred members, for example, doesn’t address public health issues, but some ant metropolises have sanitation squads. Whether assembled largely by intelligent thought (in humans) or genetic inheritance (in ants), certain features are needed before many individuals can live together harmoniously over the long term.

The flip side is that the larger the group, the more diverse — and extreme — the aggressive responses to outsiders can be. When considering the often-striking similarities between humans and social insects, one fascinating parallel is the existence of warfare in both.

Read more:


We See The World From All Sides and Want YOU To Be Fully Informed
In fact, intentional disinformation is a disgraceful scourge in media today. So to assuage any possible errant incorrect information posted herein, we strongly encourage you to seek corroboration from other non-VT sources before forming an educated opinion.

About VT - Policies & Disclosures - Comment Policy
Due to the nature of uncensored content posted by VT's fully independent international writers, VT cannot guarantee absolute validity. All content is owned by the author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images are the full responsibility of the article author and NOT VT.