Autonomous Ants

Go the ant, you sluggard, consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”  – Proverbs 6: 6 – 8

1.  Solomon writes that ants “have no captain, overseer, or ruler”. We know now that this is exactly the case.

2.  Deborah Gordon, Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and Biology Professor at Stanford University has done extensive research on the management practices of ant colonies.

  • “All ant colonies have in common that there is no central control. Nobody tells anybody what to do. The queen just lays the eggs. There is no management. No ant directs the behavior of any other ant.” 1
  • “In a way that mystifies the human mind, which has the inclination to institute leadership, delegate responsibilities, organize resources and set schedules to carry out tasks, a colony of harvester ants (like colonies of other ant species) operates perfectly well in the absence of any apparent central control or organizing force, according to Deborah Gordon, Ants at Work.”
  • A colony may grow to 10,000 to 20,000 ants and each female worker ant, without any oversight, goes about the business of caring for the young, tending the nest, creating storage chambers, and harvesting and storing grain and seeds. 2

3.  There is considerable research underway to determine just how it is that ant colonies are so well organized. Yet again, the Bible is accurate in describing this aspect of ant life. 3