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Ant 'civilization'?


Abramelin

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My point is: are we, as the humans we are, able to recognize some alien civilization when we finally manage to reach an earth-like planet outside our solar system, when we do not even know what's really going on beneath our feet?

When we think of aliens, we most often think of creatures more or less our size.

We might have to correct that image.

And...pre-human 'civilizations' may have existed, but we are prejudiced, because we think in human terms.

 

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What are these? Human made monoliths? No, they were made by tiny creatures, termites:

 

20201128_214148.jpg

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Ants versus brains

Something makes me think many readers here find this thread too weird to even try to respond.

But not to worry, I expected this.

I love to think outside our human box.

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9 minutes ago, Windowpane said:

But suppose any invading aliens weren't on the same scale that we are? 

That's what I was suggesting

And thanx for your link.

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4 hours ago, Abramelin said:

Would some 'alien' visiting Earth consider this construction as proof of some sort of civilization?

It would be interesting to know if the researchers have made any attempts to date the age/life-span of the colony. All things considered, based upon current dating technologies, an admittedly difficult proposition. Species life-spans, reproductive rates, excavation rates, etc? Very finely defined OSL sampling?

.

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https://www.livescience.com/10918-superorganisms-sum-parts.html

"If the basic biology of a single ant is so strongly influenced by the composition of the colony in which it lives, perhaps the ant is not itself an individual so much as a part of an entity existing on a higher level of biological organization, the superorganism."

 

Edited by Abramelin
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6 hours ago, Abramelin said:

https://www.livescience.com/10918-superorganisms-sum-parts.html

"If the basic biology of a single ant is so strongly influenced by the composition of the colony in which it lives, perhaps the ant is not itself an individual so much as a part of an entity existing on a higher level of biological organization, the superorganism."

 

I think the research is a bit back to front. They look at what there is and put the colony first, which is understandable, and have all the ants as part of a "machine". Yet they also state that when the colony is small the individual ants multi-task and only specialize when the coclony has rechead a certain size. This I think goes against the idea that at base level this is a "superorganism", but instead is a collection of individuals each with all the information in it's mind to carry out any task in the colony, putting aside the role of queen. They have evolved to this position, therefore in the past they did not live in these large colonies, but in much smaller groups, down to, early in their evolution, perhaps just a handfull. We don't describe ourselves as a "superorganism" because it diminishes our individuality and puts us on the level of automata. We have created what looks like a "superorganism" by cooperation, not a biological blueprint activated by chemicals.

It used to be thought, and many still think, that birds that form large flocks flying in a synchronus fashion have a "mass mind". This has been proved false by research that shows the mechanism by how they achieve what seems to be "centrally controlled flight". Each bird is an individual, not an automata. So as we slowly realize that birds are a lot more intelligent than ever presumed in the past, we should look more closely at the individual ant. Well yes they do, but from what seems like a predispostion to assume that the colony comes first. And there's probably something going on that we simply do not yet understand. Chemicals seem come into this, but not in the sense of a blueprint for an automata, but more like a tool.

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Agreed, not a 'mass mind'...

But as a group they appear to act like a brain:

http://m.nautil.us/issue/12/feedback/ants-swarm-like-brains-think

Edit:

Heh, I already posted this link. But what a fascinating read.

Edited by Abramelin
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35 minutes ago, Abramelin said:

Agreed, not a 'mass mind'...

But as a group they appear to act like a brain:

Yes they do, and I think the analogy is apt, but where I differ is in the way this is often portrayed as many minds linked to form a single entity, as was thought with flocking birds. Unity of purpose and one individual reacting to another to another and so on in a loop will look like a single mind in it's operation. Maybe it's just perspective. We, as I said, don't ascribe a mass mind to us as we know we are all individuals, as Terry Jones pointed out in The Life of Brian, but we see ourselves as top dog and different to all other life on this planet. We cooperate willingly, "they" are just automata following blind instinct, "beasts of the field" and all that. So the researchers, and I'm not disparaging them as this is fascinating stuff and they know more than me, maybe guilty of "pre-programmed arrogance" that has existed for a long time in our societies, or at least Western society which still in the main views us as "special", or "made in the image of god", a bad baseline from which to look at the intelligence of non human life.

There an issue here with semantics and splitting hairs as well, something I can be guilty of, though my purpose is to look at non human intelligence in as detached a way as possible. Then, as I think has already been pointed out, we look down at ants and decide they are not much more than automata, but there will be life out in the universe that will look down on us, and may see nothing more than a "mass mind", to their lofty intellect.

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A quote from Lewis Thomas, one we might agree or disagree with, but interesting nevertheless:

"Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labour, exchange information ceaselessly. They do everything but watch television."

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8 minutes ago, Wepwawet said:

And, some species recover their wounded from the battlefield, even operating a recognizable triage system. Ant casevac

On the other hand, there are species who will eat their wounded.

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Are all the ants weighing as much as all humans?

"We must also remember that humans are getting fatter all the time. We're not just increasing in population, we're increasing in fatness, so I think we've left the ants behind."

 

 

Edited by Abramelin
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Army ants vs. crab

This I'd like to compare with us humans trying to kill a T-rex, if we had been around during the Jurassic.

These ants win by sheer numbers, and by an incredible, mindless tenacity.

----

As long as the oxygen level stays as it is right now, we won't have to fear them. But if by some yet unknown process the O2 level rises, they will be able to grow larger.

That has to do with the way they, as insects, breath:

diffusion

 

Edited by Abramelin
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They recently discovered a species of ant with bio mineral armour - that’s a Xenomorph!

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I read that article.

But it was not an ant, as far as I am able to remember right now.

 

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