Daily Review – 2010-11-16

  • Colonial Studies « Boston Review – Deborah M. Gordon shows that in film and literature, ant colonies are often depicted like human societies; most importantly, they are described as hierarchical organizations. However, in reality, ant colonies are organized decentralizedly, and do not have a central purpose. They are "regulated by networks of interaction", in which ants react to their immediate surroundings and other ants nearby. Ant behavior is determined by the "rhythm", i.e. the pattern and rate, of interactions, and not their "meaning". This, Gordon writes, is the key difference between ants' and human communication: "For ants, only the structure of the network matters. For us, the content is crucial."

You may also like