Saturday 16 August 2014

More Evolved Than an Ant

I was watching an ant the other day trying to make his way across the back yard carrying something about half his size. I assumed it was food, but for all I know it was all of his worldly possessions wrapped up in some white, waxy ant suitcase.

It got me to thinking about where an ant would go if he were indeed running away from home. From what I understand about the ant world, each anthill is very territorial. It could be a food thing, perhaps a land issue or just some weird ant ideological difference. One group might worship Hurricane as a God because He dropped a piece of cookie near the anthill in a time of need. The other anthill might worship Tornado because He smote their enemies when all seemed lost. So, other anthills are probably out as a destination.
Maybe he will just be a lone wolf, skirting in between the other territories, trying to eke out a meagre living. Perhaps he will join forces with other like minded ants and eventually they will become a force to be reckoned with. Well, until they all get stepped on or sucked up by the lawn mower. Life is hard when you are a lone wolf ant.

From what I understand, if an ant finds a food source, he or she will leave a scent trail from the food back to the hill, so other ants can find their way to the food source and back again. I was wondering how an ant would deal with getting lost. There he is carrying his own weight in food, sweat pouring into his eyes, up one blade of grass, down the other side, up another blade of grass and down again, over and over and over. Suppose that for an instant he loses track of the trail and just never finds it again. I don’t imagine they carry road maps with them or that they could pull up the map on their Garmin. He is completely and totally lost!

Sure, he has a lot of food on his back, but that won’t last long and if he is even more unlucky, he could run into that band of lone wolf ants we talked about earlier. That would suck. He might just become a food source.

What if he didn’t lose the path, but found a larger piece of food while he was walking. Does he drop the small piece, pick up the larger one and continue on? Does he just ignore the bigger piece of food and let some other gung ho ant carry the extra heavy food back. Where did the bit of food come from? Did some other ant find a small piece and decided to carry that back to the hill? What a prick! If it were me, I would take a couple of bites out of the new piece of food and carry on. By the end of the day I would have a full stomach and wouldn’t have to worry about the new food.
What if the ant made it back from the distant food source and some kid had used a magnifying glass and devastated the ant hill. What do you do then? Try to dig out the queen and work your ass off hoping there will be enough food to survive the winter. I’d rather go out and find the group of lone wolf ants and take my chances.

I kind of believe in reincarnation and I hope that I am never brought back as an ant. I am more evolved than an ant. Aren’t I? Yeah, I’m sure I am. I think…

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