Be sure to watch to the end!!!
Video by Martha Tobias Music by Bobby McFerrin.
Patience Tenacity Solidarity Truthfulness Cooperation
Diligence Diversity Duty Endurance Organization Unity Perseverance Strength
The most striking difference between ant and people is size: Ants are obviously much smaller than us. The largest specimens can reach the size of a June bug and the smallest are barely the size of the dot on the letter i. The tiny Pharaoh ant can crawl about on the head of a carpenter ant without much trouble—a size difference akin to that of a man and a mouse.
When we talk about humans, we are only talking about a single species, whereas the world of ant boasts thousands of different species, some of which indulge in very different lifestyles.
The secret to ants’ success is largely grounded in their attitude to life: “As not what your colony can do for you, ask what you can do for your colony.” An ant is helpless without its colony, but is always ready to sacrifice itself on the colony’s behalf.
When ants work as a team they are practically unstoppable. An individual ant might shift a few grains of sand, but together they can move mountains. And they have been doing it since they emerged over one hundred million years ago.
Another secret to their success is the sheer number of them. Nobody knows how many ants there are in the world. Some scientists estimate there could be around ten quadrillion. If that’s correct, then there are a million ants for every human on the planet. Assuming that these little ants are, on average, half an inch long. If you lined up all the ants in the world, they could form a chain reaching from the Sun to the Earth and back 344 times.
These days humans consider themselves the rulers of the earth. Yet the world would be quite happy without us. Whole books have been devoted to this topic and they all concluded that no global catastrophe would occur. Of course, humanity is a part of nature, but in many ways our behavior is no longer in balance with the natural cycles.
Not so with ants. Without ants, for example, the species of insects they prey upon would quickly multiply, devouring woods and grasslands. Dead animals would no longer be disposed of and lie rotting where they fell. The soil would be inadequately aerated, nutrient cycles would stall. If all the ants suddenly disappeared, terrestrial ecosystems across the globe would be on their knees. Without ants the natural world would suffer a long period of instability and would never look the same again.
So, who really rules the world?
We hope this year at Sinterklaas you will learn more and more about the world of the most fascinating and important creatures on the planet.
They may be small, but they are mighty.
by Suzanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche.