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Are all the ants as heavy as all the humans?

mheredgemheredge TeacherHere and therePosts: 26,462 mod
"If we were to weigh all the ants in the world, they would weigh as much as all of the people," said a wildlife presenter recently in BBC Four's The Wonder Of Animals: Ants.

Is this statement true?

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29281253
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Comments

  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    According to Holldobler and Wilson (1990), there are about 10,000 trillion of ants, and their weight equals to all human beings. but there is controversy about this statement.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,050 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    ants or aunts? :)
    Interesting research. I will read about it more.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    @bubbli what do you think aunts are not human beings :)
    By the way there are a lot of interesting facts about ants that we could hardly believe.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,050 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @ManLearner Yes I know few. :)
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    Do you know about "Ant Colony Optimization". An algorithmic technique based on Ant's behavior, used to solve arithmetic problems.
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Is this algorithm in our calculators, @ManLearner?
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    No @Zom this technique is used for managing delivery to customers by companies.
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @ManLearner - Is it about finding the shortest or the cheapest way to the delivery point?
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    Yes, it tells how to suggest shortest and time saving way to multiple delivery points. Same as ants use for food resources.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    There is an interesting documentary naming "planet Ant-life inside the colony" which shows whole system inside an ant colony.
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @ManLearner - Beside watching the documentary, have you ever spent time spying on ants in your garden or wherever?
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    Yes @Zom i spent a lot of time for search and research on ants, as i have my study related to this creature.
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    But not just in a laboratory, is it? When you were a kid, did you let them climb over your arms and legs. It gives a tickling sensation, doesn't it.
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    No, I didn't let them to climb on me in childhood. But now I have both lab and field work.
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    But you still don't let them tickle you. LOL
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 5,811 mod
    This is an interesting part of the article, especially the freezing:

    How do you weigh an ant? "It's very easy to weigh an ant. You buy a small electronic balance, and you place the ant on the balance," says Ratnieks. But he advises you refrigerate it first. "That way it doesn't run away."
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2015
    Wouldn't it be heavier once it's frozen?
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 26,462 mod
    Why should it be heavier @Zom? The water inside the ant is still water, but in a solid form.
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I might sound stupid, but could it also alter the chemistry of the organs and skeleton of the ant and so its weight?
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    No @Zom freezing stops all biochemical processes inside body. So for DNA and Protein work, usually specimens are frozen at -20 or -80 °C to stops all processes and hormonal activity. But for weighing ants, they are kept at 4 °C to just stop their movement, in this way liquid inside their body doesn't freeze.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,050 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @ManLearner quite interesting and new information for me. I am still not convinced about freezing them.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    @bubbli it depends upon your target. If you need to do some molecular work i.e. you want to preserve DNA, RNA or proteins then you can freeze for long term storage, others no need to freeze.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    But if you want to weigh them you can refrigerate them. It will not affect any change in weight or chemical composition.
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,050 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @ManLearner OK. Actually I was confused why freezing method is used for weighing. Now I am clear. Thank you.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 26,462 mod
    But do you have to freeze them. If you put 100 in a container that you have already weighed, then surely you can work out the weight (averaged out) of an ant this way?
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    Yes @mheredge usually a number of ants are taken to weigh then find out average. because all ants in a colony are not of same size and weight.
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @manlearner, It makes me curious about human being. I wonder if there is also temperature point to just prevent them from moving. Have you got the answer?
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    Sorry @Zom i didn't understand.
  • ZomZom Shadok Posts: 2,738 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    @ManLearner, you said, "But for weighing ants, they are kept at 4 °C to just stop their movement, in this way liquid inside their body doesn't freeze. "

    For ants it's 4°C to stop them moving, but what is it for people? Do you know is there is a specific temperature point that prevent a human being from moving?
    It befits a man to be merry and glad
    Until the day of his death.
  • ManLearnerManLearner Posts: 1,115 ✭✭✭✭
    I don't know about human being, anyhow it depends upon time duration for which kept at low temperature. i think if human is also kept at 4 °C for longer time, it will become consciousness.
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