Monday, 17 September 2012 15:58

The Ant City

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ant cityWe've seen what these giant ant mounds look like above ground but this is an incredible view of what the structures looks like underground - which some have called a wonder of the world.

Researchers from the documentary Ants: Nature's Secret Power have excavated a giant leaf-cutter ant colony in South America.

The researchers poured over 10 tons of concrete into the leaf cutter colony, waited for it to harden, and then painstakingly excavated one of nature's marvellous wonders. The results were astounding! The colony was far bigger and more intricate than anyone had imagined. The colony covered an area of 500 square feet and went down to a depth of 26 feet!

 

 

 

It took the team of 8 researchers 3 days of pouring concrete to fill the entire colony. After letting the concrete dry for a month, they began the excavation; a process that took many weeks, even with the help of mechanical excavators.

During the ants construction of the 500 square foot colony, it is estimated that the leaf cutter ants moved more than 40 tons of soil. Literally billions of ant-loads of soil were moved! The ant city often looks like it was designed by an architect. There are subterrainean tunnels like highways that connect the main chambers of the colony, and side routes that branch off and connect to smaller chambers, like fungis gardens - which is created from the leaves they cut (hence the name) and waste pits.

It was discovered that many of the tunnels also serve as ventilation ducts. Amazingly the difference in temperature between the fungis gardens and the waste pits create air circulation that is used as a sort of ventilation system for the ants, pumping out the carbon dioxide while pulling fresh air down from the top.

 

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An ant colony as sophisticated as some cities! Main highways connecting the vital parts of the city, minor roads to less used areas, a sanitation system, a ventilation system, food supply chain, and a recycling center. The colony also boasts a self-organizing government without the need for central command. Every ant, whether it be a forager, soldier, construction worker, hunter, nurse, guardian, or breeder carry out their tasks without ever receiving instructions. Ants can accomplish these incredible undertakings because of combined effort and coordination that it would seem to require foresight and advanced planning, and yet it doesn't. The incredible, independant, yet collective ant .

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