Human Societies Starting to Resemble Ant Colonies

Human Societies Starting to Resemble Ant Colonies

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The human population is growing at such a staggering rate that we are organizing ourselves more like ant supercolonies, with new research finding that we have more in common now with some ants than we do with our closest living animal kingdom relatives. The new study, published in the journal Behavioral Ecology, points out that both humans and ants live in societies that may consist of up to a million plus members.

Study author Mark Moffett analyzed the Argentine ant, which has colonies that expand hundreds of miles. What makes such size and growth possible for a society, Moffett determined, is that membership can be anonymous. Members are not required to distinguish each other as individuals for a group to remain unified. Societies are instead bonded by shared identity cues. For ants, those are largely tied to pheromones. Humans release pheromones too, but we bond in other unique ways.

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