by Irma Arkus
Do you know what is the largest civilization on Earth?
First, let me first assure you, it is not human, but rather a recently discovered ant colony.
What was touted as a first confirmed “supercolony” were related ants living in colonies that spanned miles across North and South America, Europe and even parts of Asia. Scientists determined that the ants are part of a larger body because they “recognized” members from different colonies as relatives, rather than engage in war-like response reserved for those who were considered other.
But now, the scientists say that it is not only nickel particles that once assembled start to behave like a rather predatory organism. The supercolonies too behave in these patterns, resembling a living biological organism.
When conducting an analysis of some 168 species of ants at University of Florida, it has been found that while members maintain a certain “individuality” as a collective group, a colony, they tend to organize themselves in such a way to suggest a “superorganism.”
What is a super-organism anyways?
Well, according to the researchers, these superorganisms very much correspond to life, development and behaviour of an individual. Essentially, if one is to undestand the actions of colonies that have captured our imagination for millenia, then perhaps undestanding them as a singular is the key (and this is where I fondly harken back to Greg Bear’s “Slant”)
Once more, the research applies to not only ants, but bees, termites, and wasps. The findings will be offering a new, fresh perspective on how societies evolve and develop, perhaps most importantly, giving us new tools to learn about humans, or…that superhuman organism? ([ufl]