Who knows? Not me.

Asked February 19, 2019, 4:34 AM EST

I was outside doing whatever one day, when I noticed a bunch of ants. I watched them for a minute or so and I started to wonder, that since you can take a queen ant, that's never seen another ant or knows anything about what an ant is and put it somewhere, it will still start a colony just as all the others do.

We know that people are the same. We also know people have lived here for over 32 million years.

Wouldn't it be foolish of us to think they didn't have technology just like us? Cars that got turned into dust over years of being buried?

We can't imagine anything we haven't seen or heard of already. We can take a dead body and a alive person and imagine a zombie, but without seeing either of those two, zombies would have never been thought up. So Nostradamus, must have seen something like what he predicted, which would prove we are not as intelligent or one of a kind like we think we are.

Can anyone confirm if I'm correct about any of this or am I totally nuts?

Linn County Oregon ants ecology evolution

1 Response


Thanks for reaching out to Ask an Expert with this question, which I think is mainly about animal and insect intelligence. Ants definitely have abilities that humans rarely give them credit for. E.O. Wilson as you may know is famous for studying ants and how their colonies work. If these questions fascinate you, I'd suggest taking a deeper dive into Wilson's works.

I found this OPB special on Wilson that might interest you: http://www.pbs.org/program/eo-wilson/

You can learn more about Wilson and his books on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._O._Wilson

And here's an interview with Wilson about his most recent book, which delves into crossover between sciences and humanities: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/03/e-o-wilson-urges-a-melding-of-humanities-sciences/

Hope that speaks to some of your very big existential questions about these matters or is at least interesting. Thanks for contacting Ask an Expert.