Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Chewing dinosaurs, climate change, self-sacrificing ants and black bears

Climate change causes carbon dioxide to dissolve in ocean water making it more acidic and efficient at transmitting sound waves. (Paul Souders / Corbis)

The Collictive Good

(Maura McCarthy)
Scientists in Brazil have observed an unusual act of selflessness. When Forelius ants retire for the night, one or more workers remain outside the colony, kicking sand to seal the entrance. If that protects those within from predators or rain, it also dooms the outside ants to die overnight of exposure. It's the first known case of "pre-emptive self-sacrifice" among insects.

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