Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ants Go to School Too

Members of the ant species Temnothrax albipennis engage in teacher-pupil interactions. Researchers at the University of Bristol, who are publishing their findings tomorrow in the journal Science, claim that such instruction has never previously been documented outside of human beings.
The ants engage in a form of teaching known as "tandem running" whereby one ant teaches another how to find newly discovered sources of food. According to the researchers it is the give and take of this behavior, which is costly to the individual "teacher" ant, that distinguishes it from mimicry, found in many species.

For now the ant's educational offerings appear confined to "Introductory Tandem Running." No word yet on whether there are any plans to introduce "Intelligent Design" to the curriculum...


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