Bees and ants are true team players
In a new research, scientists have found that bees and ants are true team players unlike other creatures who seek safety in numbers for selfish reasons.Updated: Mar 25, 2009 14:15 IST
In a new research, scientists from Edinburgh and Oxford Universities have found that bees and ants are true team players unlike other creatures who seek safety in numbers for selfish reasons.
According to a report by BBC News, the scientists, using mathematical models to study “swarm behaviour”, found that bison or fish want to get to the centre of large groups to keep themselves safe from predators.
But, they also found that ants and bees worked together as a single unit, and were prepared to die for the greater good of the colony.
The study’s findings appear to echo the insect worlds portrayed in the animated films Antz and Bee Movie, in which the characters live in rigidly conformist societies.
In a beehive, the workers are happy to help the community, even to die, because the queen carries and passes on their genes.
In some co-operative groups of animals, known as superorganisms, members are closely related, and work together to ensure their shared genetic material is passed on, the researchers concluded.
In other groups, they perform a policing role, for instance in honey bee hives where worker bees destroy any eggs not laid by the queen to ensure the queen’s offspring survive.
According to Dr Andy Gardner, from the University of Edinburgh, “We often see animals appearing to move in unison, such as bison or fish. However, what looks like a team effort is in fact each animal jostling to get to the middle of the group to evade predators.”
“By contrast, an ant nest or a beehive can behave as a united organism in its own right. In a beehive, the workers are happy to help the community, even to die, because the queen carries and passes on their genes,” he added.
First Published: Mar 23, 2009 16:35 IST