Natures wonders: exploding ant defenders (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, April 22, 2018, 13:12 (511 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: If your God exists, I would see these wonders as the result of his giving organisms free rein to use their intelligence, thus producing marvel after marvel of ingenuity. Thank you again for all the research you do into these matters.

DAVID: You responded as expected, but I'm just as puzzled. Most of a colonies ants communicate through their body surface chemicals, n o thought here. The queen controls the genetics, so she is a source of the change, unless God stepped in like Nobel with TNT.

So when you communicate by setting your materials in motion, there is no thought? You always focus on the means of communication, which of course involves materials of some kind, and you ignore the fact that WHAT is communicated requires thought. As regards the changes:

QUOTE: “The researchers report that not every member of the species goes bang. The behaviour is limited to a single caste, called minor workers, which the authors describe as “particularly prone to self-sacrifice”.
Other castes within the species also exhibit unusual behaviours, however. Major workers, for instance, have disproportionately large heads, which they use to plug nest entrances in order to barricade against invaders
.”

I’d like to know at what stage the workers diversify. Do they all have the yellow goo, but only a few become martyrs? Are there martyrs and big-heads in the same colony? We know that colonies can have more than one queen, and sometimes there are “foreign” ants that have been captured. Do queens lay a mixed bag of eggs? These questions are surely answerable, and perhaps, David, you can enlighten us. But the answers still won’t tell us how the explosive/big heads techniques originated. Chance mutations that were useful, deliberate planning by a clever queen or by the combined intelligences of the colony, your God “stepping in”?


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