Re: sphexish behavior in ants

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Wed Sep 05 2001 - 10:01:34 MDT

From: "Mike Lorrey" <>
> Conclusion: ant watchers are ________

Ant watchers, if they persist for a lifetime, and if their persistence is
motivated by scientific discovery, are on the road to receiving a Lifetime
Achievement award.

Lifetime achievement: E.O. Wilson
(TIME) -- "Study nature, not books!" advised the great 19th century naturalist
Louis Agassiz. As a boy growing up in Alabama and northern Florida, Edward
Osborne Wilson did both. By day he scoured fields, forests and streams. At
night he pored over books and magazines. It was an article in National
Geographic ("Stalking Ants, Savage and Civilized") that launched, at the ripe
age of 9, one of the great scientific careers of the late 20th century, a
career that began in entomology with a particular passion for ants, but that
has since reinvented itself with remarkable frequency, expanding its scope to
encompass not just the earth's smallest creatures but the whole living planet.
E.O. Wilson's scientific contributions began early. He was 13 when he
discovered, in a vacant lot near the docks of Mobile, Alabama, the first known
U.S. colonies of fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, invaders from Brazil and
Argentina known in the South as "the ants from hell."

As an assistant professor at Harvard in the late 1950s, he proposed the
radical notion that ant societies are bound together by an elaborate system of
chemical signals. He went on to prove the existence of what are now called
pheromones with an elegant experiment. Pied Piperlike, he lured a stream of
worker ants along a chemical trail laid down with pheromones extracted from a
gland in the abdomen of a fire ant.


Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego

     Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
     but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
     (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

We won't move into a better future until we debunk religiosity, the most
regressive force now operating in society.

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