From the archives: Ants ants ants

The ancient ant species lost for half a century, the fatherless ants with the fewest chromosomes of any living thing, the two rules of the ant automaton, and the most painful ant stings in the world.

Dinosaur ant
April Nobile / from AntWeb.org / CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The living fossil “dinosaur ant” was first discovered in Australia in 1931. And then no-one saw another specimen for nearly fifty years.


National Science Foundation/Peter Rejcek [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Again in Australia, the jack jumper ant has the fewest chromosomes of any living thing. Male jack jumper ants have no fathers and can have no sons.


Langston’s ant is a cellular automaton with just two rules, but those two rules produce pattern, then chaos, then order.


The Sateré-Mawé in Brazil domesticated guarana; coincidentally, they sew bullet ants into a glove and then wear it (as part of an intense initiation ritual).

Leave a Reply