Thursday, June 30, 2016

Teachers Write Tuesday Quick-Write

Today's Prompt led me to notice an ant carrying around a dead comrade. I had so many questions! Where was he taking him? How did he die? Are they going back to the colony or away? Here is what I wrote in my notebook:

I looked this up (arrow to my note: "Ant carrying another ant (dead)") to see if this was a common
ant "thing". It turns out scientists have discovered that ant colonies that don't remove their dead have higher mortality rates than those that do. I'm curious how the ants themselves discovered this. Is it a natural instinct? Where do they take their dead? Just "away"? Or do they have a "spot"? Is there an ant cemetery?

::looking up more info::

::found an NPR interview from 2006::
(By the way, the opening to this story is fantastic)

One woman's name keeps popping up: Deborah Gordon (Stanford Professor of Biology). She is often interviewed by NPR, does TED talks about ants and so forth.

Apparently there is an ant cemetery. It's underground and there are ants that pile up dead ant bodies just to take the pile down again, move it, pile it up, take it down, and move it back again.

This could be because successful ant colonies have a surplus of ants and they just need something to do to fill the time! Fascinating.

Read more here about lazy ants:

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