Smelly Ants

Smelly Ants

I read once about an experiment that Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson performed on ants.

Wilson observed that when an ant died in its nest, it took the other ants a few days to notice. They’d walk around their deceased friend completely normally and unphased, without so much as offering an ant-sized “Get Well” card, for three days before reacting. Wilson surmised, then, that the ants knew death by the smell of decomposition, and not by the fact that their little buddy lay motionless in the ant tunnel.

Sure enough, he was right. Wilson discovered that the dead ant emitted oleic acid. Once the other ants smelled it three days later, they immediately carried their stinky friend off to a pile of ant corpses.

Share this article: Share on Facebook21Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest5Share on Google+0Email this to someone


Amy Storms is a wife, mom, and writer in Joplin, Missouri. An Oklahoma girl at heart, she lives with her pastor-husband Andy, their kids Nathan, Anne, and Molly, and about a hundred other "sons" in a dorm at her beloved alma mater, Ozark Christian College. Along with guacamole and Dr. Pepper, words are some of her very favorite things. She loves to read words, craft them on the page, and, of course, say them. Too many of them.

© Copyright 2016 Ungrind. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission.

Smelly Ants

by Amy Storms time to read: <1 min