[EPUB] ✴ Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration By Bert Hölldobler – Horse-zine.co.uk

Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration pdf Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration, ebook Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration, epub Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration, doc Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration, e-pub Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration, Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration eddadfa002f Hailed As A Masterpiece By Scientific American And As The Greatest Of All Entomology Books By Science, Bert Holldobler And Edward O Wilson S Monumental Treatise The Ants Also Was Praised In The Popular Press And Won A Pulitzer Prize This Overwhelming Success Attests To A Fact Long Known And Deeply Felt By The Authors The Infinite Fascination Of Their Tiny Subjects This Fascination Finds Its Full Expression In Journey To The Ants, An Overview Of Myrmecology That Is Also An Eloquent Tale Of The Authors Pursuit Of These Astonishing InsectsRichly Illustrated And Delightfully Written, Journey To The Ants Combines Autobiography And Scientific Lore To Convey The Excitement And Pleasure The Study Of Ants Can Offer The Authors Interweave Their Personal Adventures With The Social Lives Of Ants, Building, From The First Minute Observations Of Childhood, A Remarkable Account Of These Abundant Insects Evolutionary Achievement Accompanying Holldobler And Wilson, We Peer Into The Colony To See How Ants Cooperate And Make War, How They Reproduce And Bury Their Dead, How They Use Propaganda And Surveillance, And How They Exhibit A Startlingly Familiar Ambivalence Between Allegiance And Self Aggrandizement This Exotic Tour Of The Entire Range Of Formicid Biodiversity From Social Parasites To Army Ants, Nomadic Hunters, Camouflaged Huntresses, And Energetic Builders Of Temperature Controlled Skyscrapers Opens Out Increasingly Into Natural History, Intimating The Relevance Of Ant Life To Human Existence A Window On The World Of Ants As Well As Those Who Study Them, This Book Will Be A Rich Source Of Knowledge And Pleasure For Anyone Who Has Ever Stopped To Wonder About The Miniature Yet Immense Civilization At Our Feet


10 thoughts on “Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration

  1. says:

    If ants had nuclear weapons, they would probably end the world in a week. One of the best classes I ever took was taught by an entomologist You couldn t walk than a few feet with him without coming across something fascinating Every square inch of soil, every rock and branch, every type of environment however seemingly barren be it desert or riverine, was shown to be packed with little animated beings, scurrying about The life of an entomologist is enviably interesting.Of the innumerable species of bee and beetle and bug he showed us, one in particular stuck in my memory We were in a sandy semi desert, with air temperatures normally in the high nineties the mid thirties, for non Americans And if you ve ever walked barefoot on the beach, you ll know that the ground temperature is considerably higher than the air when it s very sunny out So the sand was extremely hot Even so, an ant had evolved to survive in this environment remarkable considering how moisture loving ants normally are The ant s strategy was simple run really fast, holding its body high over the ground on its legs The poor beachgoer running over hot sand on tiptoe is thus using a valid evolutionary strategy Such was my introduction to the fascinating world of the ants My professor also described a recent experiment that he or his colleagues had performed in the savanna They wanted to know if the ants that nest in acacia trees, which aggressively defend the trees from pests like beetles and other leaf eating insects, could dissuade much bigger herbivores So they compared the time that rhinos and giraffes spent grazing at trees with ant colonies, as compared to those without ant colonies In turned out that the aggressive ants could even bother a tough skinned rhino enough to convince it to look for food elsewhere Inspired by this experience, I wanted someday to read a book on the life of ants At first, I was attracted to Wilson and H lldobler s magnum opus, The Ants But a quick look at the size and the price convinced me to look elsewhere As the two authors explain in the introduction to this very book because exhaustive coverage is its primary aim, it is outsized, containing 732 pages of tables, figures, and double columned text, measuring 26 by 31 centimeters in hard cover, and weighing 3.4 kilograms The Ants, in short, is not a book one casually purchases and reads cover to cover.So I gladly purchased this book, the popular version, and dug in.This is one of those books that will fill you with trivia for weeks on end to entertain your friends Ants are remarkable creatures They go to war, enslave other ant species, practice agriculture cultivating fungi , domesticate animals protecting and nurturing aphids They communicate with a formidable arsenal of chemical signals, which nevertheless leaves them vulnerable to a host of creatures which are able to reproduce their signals and take advantage of the ants cooperative lifestyle Some ants perform feats that would put any human athletes to shame, forming chains with their bodies to pull leaves together into a nest which are then sealed shut with silk made from their larvae Really, I couldn t hope to do justice to the wealth of information packed into this slim volume.And along with these stories of evolutionary pyrotechnics, there are many pages of glossy photographs, which manage to be both beautiful and bizarre Yet I have to admit that, even after reading this book, I still don t find ants to be the paragon of beauty in the animal kingdom But to put aesthetics aside, ants are interesting for the light they might shed on our own social species For as the authors say at one point, myrmecologists use language adopted from human societies such as war, slave raiding, domestication precisely because ant behavior is so similar in form to our own And what does this say about the nature of intelligence, that with our large brains we have slipped into the same patterns as the pebble brained ants


  2. says:

    Journey to the Ants is THE indispensable and, as far as I know unparalleled book for myrmecophiles Wilson s and Holldobler s prose is exceedingly clear, untechnical, and personal Their passion for the realities of ant biology and ethology as complemented by the isolated scientific knowledge thereof makes every page alive There is a LOT of really really cool stuff in this book.Reading about the complexity and interesting permutations of ant behavior made me realize how little human justifications have to do with why we really do things Complex social behaviors can, as ants show, evolve because they are successful or merely not detrimental, but since humans have conscious thought, we need abstract concepts to explain these behaviors to ourselves Studying ants is a good way to overcome the tendency to take those justifications at face value.


  3. says:

    Journey to the Ants paints a very interesting picture of an ant colony as an intricate super organism in which individual ants are only small, dispensable, fairly mechanical and easily replaceable walking batteries of exocrine glands that sense their world primarily through array of chemical words, touch, sound, and very poor vision in some cases The fascinating image I take away from this book is that the colony is the individual, and every ant is like a protein flowing through the veins of the individual, doing various tasks to support the organism Throughout the book you ll gain an understanding of an ant colony, how it functions, how it is divided into castes, how it controls its environment, migrates, cooperates with surrounding species through various symbioses, fights, and forages There is a also a lot of discussion of various types of species in the vast and varied ant species universe, together with discussion on how they have evolved over time from wasps Excellent I m leaving out a star because it could have been even better Very often a stunningly interesting behavior is described, but there is no effort made to explain on a reductionist level how it is achieved through simple rules that the ants may follow For example, ants can build bridges across leaves with their bodies How does a single ant decide to become part of the bridge How does it know where to attach, or how long to stay I wish there was an attempt to unravel the algorithm every ant follows Surely, these kinds of experiments can be carried out in laboratory conditions and monitored closely More generally, I found the book to be fairly light on this process of trying to debug an ant Instead, much of the focus is on simply cataloging the behaviors on a high level Maybe it s just the grumpy Computer Scientist in me Oh well.


  4. says:

    You ll learn a lot from this extremely interesting book But first couple of quotes It can be said that while human societies send their young men to war, weaver ant societies send their old ladies If ants had nuclear weapons, they would probably end the world in a week.In this book however you ll not only learn about the art of ant war, like Home turf matters majority of battles are won on fields where future victors droppings prevail They seal defenders in their nests, spraying their victims with poison squirts from the tips of their bodies think flamethrowers and hurling small stones into shafts suicide bombers is a routine practice, when an individual ant blasts itself in the midst of enemies, covering them with its highly toxic poison selective highway robberies slave raidsBut also about many ways these small creatures run their lives intrigues among queens use of silk from pupae creation of live bridges storage of excess nutrients in overblown bodies of receptacle ants how cunning parasites exploit ants how they specialize and mimic the environment how they change the very environment they live in from climate and humidity control of their nests to agriculture and pasturing that they pioneered zillions years before us.You ll learn how they communicate and organize their foraging and warring activities And much, much


  5. says:

    I m now full of facts for the rest of my life about ants I had no idea how old the ant species is, and how social their world is Worth the read but a few of my favorite learnings There are basically no male ants in a colony they serve no purpose other than reproduction and die shortly afterEach colony is spawned from the same queen mother, so essentially the colony is full of daughtersAnts wage wars on other colonies, and are extremely territorialOne ant species has the fastest twitch muscles in the entire animal kingdom in the jawI could go on


  6. says:

    Great Photos, very informative, understandable for non specialists and well researched.


  7. says:

    Great book, if you re looking to learn about this subject Authors are experts in this field and well educated, they make connections with other social animals and most chapters are highly interesting, i found the chapters the army ants , and the strange ants great.


  8. says:

    I was reading this article on superorganism on the internet the other day and saw Bert Holldobler and found out he wrote a 1000 page Pulitzer winning tome on ants That s pretty impressive and gives me enough excuse to read this random book Also my time in Australia made me fascinated by these tiny, apparently mindless creatures running about and organizing extremely efficient societies and evolutionary machines And this is definitely a wonderful and exciting book that anyone remotely interested in insects should read I m totally awed There is lots of interesting ant stories in this book, and I ll quote some here, just trying to make you interested My impression is ants turn out to be pretty smart, beautiful outcome of evolution For example, before a nuptial flight, a virgin ant tucks a wad of hyphae into a pocket, and after copulation with heaps of desperate male ants or disposable sperm carrying missiles , she will dig a nest in the ground and grow a fungus garden She then gives birth and feeds the first workers with the fungus garden They then grow up and take care of the colony, the queen is reduced to a egg laying machine for the rest of her life And holy crap, a queen ant can lay 100 million eggs in her lifetime How on earth do they deal with overpopulation Sometimes a nest can be founded by multiple queens, and the competition between them is just fascinating to read The workers either kill all the excess queens or the queens compete among themselves until only one survives They can secrete inhibitory pheromones to prevent production of eggs in others, or they bite off their rival s gammae and eat other s eggs That s pretty brutal Generally ants aren t quite friendly lovely things at all They can viciously raid and destroy an entire colony and carry away all their eggs and larvae and have a wonderful feast back at their nest We can heave a sigh of relief acquiring nuclear weapons is not on their agenda Ants can communicate with their antenna, sound, dance, and most intriguingly, pheromones They drop excrements everywhere to mark their territory They carry a corpse to a garbage pile if they can smell oleic acid They excrete different chemicals at different diffusion rates when they encounter an enemy to alert their friends and urge them to attack any foreign object When an intruder enters a colony, he can either be eliminated or adopted, but given less food until he acquires the same odour as the rest of the colony wonderful organization and efficiency But ants of course aren t super intelligent either They regurgitate a sample of food when you tap a hair on its mouth, can t really tell a beast a million times bigger from its mate Or if you put the fatty acid on a live ant, he will be carried to the graveyard unprotestingly, then gets up and shakes off the odour and goes back to the nest.I think the best part of the book is when Bert Holldobler and Ed Wilson explain why ants develop such highly cooperative and altruistic societies Female workers are willing to sacrifice their lives for the colony, never reproduce and devote their lives to rearing new virgin queens Why do they or evolution make that choice The answer turns out to be extremely simple and beautiful It has to do with the way ants inherit sex When an egg is fertilized, it becomes a female, if it is not fertilized, it becomes a male That means mothers share half of their genes with their daughters, but sisters share three quarters of their genes because their father came from an unfertilized egg So it totally makes sense that you sacrifice your reproduction to invest in taking care of your sisters, because that s the most efficient way to spread your genes Brothers and sisters only share a quarter of their genes, so if you re a male, be a drone At the end of the day, why should you care about your sisters if some day you ll fly away to copulate with a queen and spread your genes to an entire new colony Ah, also, die heroically in the process And amazingly, yes, worker ants do seem to exert that sort of control and regulate the sex ratio of their colony Wow In the end, the best thing I learn from this book is the appreciation of how these tiny creatures have evolved to adapt and cooperate with other insects to survive for the last one hundred million years Given the way a colony functions, it s obvious to me nature has infinitely many ways to amaze us.


  9. says:

    So freaking cool.Dozens of different ant species are profiled to highlight hundreds of cool facts, along with detailed pictures for context Some examples The Odontomachus bauri s jaw mandible is the fastest of any anatomical structure in the animal kingdom, moving at 8.5 meters per second if human sized, that would be the same as a fist swinging at 3 km s, which is faster than a rifle bullet These mandibles are triggered by the largest nerve axons in the animal kingdom larger size allows for faster transmission speed These mandibles snap so fast, they are actually used sometimes to launch Odontomachus 40 centimeters in the air to land on nest invaders and sting them.Or leaf cutter ants, which can create colonies of up to 5 8 million in a colony of 1000 chambers varying in size from a closed fist to a soccer ball Up to 44 tons of earth are displaced to make these colonies Scaled to human equivalency, each colony is as large of a construction project as the Great Wall of China The ants inside the colony vary in size so much that the largest soldier variety are 300X heavier than the smallest, which clear away mold from their subterranean fungi colonies.Or the dolichoderus cuspidatus, which practices true nomadism, or full migratory herding The ant colonies live as stock farmers They subsist entirely on their herds of mealybugs and closely coordinate their lifestyle with that of the livestock, while accompanying them from one pasture to the next Or the wide variety of parasites that live on ants, like the macrochelid mite that effectively replaces the foot of one caste of one species of ant, even providing replacement pincer toes for its host.Even enjoyable than the scattered facts are some of the deeper biological ideas EO Wilson and Holldobler describe The book explains quite well why colonies exist based on kin selection Ants inherit sex by haplodiploidy, which means fertilized eggs become female and unfertilized eggs become male Further, male sperm are haploid, meaning they have only one set of chromosomes and are all identical On the mother s side, you get gene recombination, which makes only 1 4 of all of the genes identical Therefore, female offspring share 3 4 of their genes, while only sharing 1 2 of their genes with their mother.To see the consequences, put yourself in the place of a wasp surrounded by relatives You are connected by one half of your genes to your mother and by the same degree to your daughters A normal amount of solicitude toward them will be enough But you are connected to your sisters by three fourths of your genes A bizarre new arrangement is now optimal in order to insert genes identical to your own into the next generation, it is profitable for you to raise sisters than it is to raise daughters Your world has been turned upside down How can you now best reproduce your genes The answer is to become a member of a colony Give up having daughters, and protect and feed your mother in order to produce as many sisters as possible So the best succinct advice to give a wasp is become an ant.Also fascinating were explanation of the emergent behaviors ant colonies perform, all controlled by systems of chemicals These chemicals create odors, which are spread around colonies constantly by the ants, creating an olfactory Gestalt These odors help identify dead ants in a colony and strangers that need to be attacked Chemicals are used to dictate between 20 and 42 different basic behaviors like grooming, egg care, laying of other odor trails, etc , they determine when ants should make new queens and drones, or when army ant colonies should move Having gleaned a little about emergence and cellular automata starting with Godel Escher Bach years ago , I was excited to learn about sociogenesis defined in this book as the steps by which individuals undergo changes in cast and behavior to build the society but they don t get much into the theory.


  10. says:

    Pocas veces se concede el premio Pulitzer al autor de un libro de divulgaci n cient fica y los art fices de este son una de esas raras excepciones El libro est descatalogado desde hace a os y me cost Dios y ayuda conseguir un ejemplar de segunda mano en papel, que pude localizar finalmente en una librer a de Ja n y comprar a trav s de Internet Su lectura es fascinante, amena, instructiva Sus contenidos sorprendentes y maravillosos, a poco que te guste la naturaleza y que te apasione la vida en cualquiera de sus manifestaciones.


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