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Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Wild Things: Life as We Know It

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Observed:

Name: Temnothorax albipennis (an English ant)

Neat Trick: Tandem running, in which an experienced ant leads a naive ant from the nest to food.

Neater Trick: Teaching. The ants establish their route with two-way communication—the follower taps the leader's abdomen with its antennae. The leader slows to one-quarter speed when it's showing another ant the way. This may be the first pupil-teacher dialogue seen in nonhumans.

And This Means? "A big brain is not a prerequisite" for teaching, according to the study by researchers at the University of Bristol, in England.

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