Ant Colony’s “Nervous System”

  Ants are one of our common insects. They are typical social groups. Individuals have a clear division of labor. For example, worker ants who are good at walking are responsible for going out for food and building nests; larger soldier ants are responsible for protecting ant colonies; queens are responsible for breeding offspring. The clear division of labor in the ant colony is very similar to the division and cooperation of major systems in the human body. Soldier ants are like our skin system, queens are like the reproductive system, and worker ants responsible for most of the work are like our nervous system.
  You may be wondering, how can the lowest-ranking worker ants in the ant colony be the nervous system? It turns out that in a ant colony called needle-harvested ants, the foraging behavior of worker ants and the transmission of information in the human nervous system are very similar. This was discovered by a ecologist at Stanford University in a study.
  Transfer information between workers
  in the guard hair harvester ant population, a group of migrant workers in charge of the expedition, they first go out exploration surroundings, look out there is no wind and flood, or spiders and other natural enemies. If they don’t return, the worker ants on standby at the mouth of the cave for food will know they are temporarily unsafe outside. Then soon there will be the next batch of worker ants going out to explore. In short, when the expedition worker ants returned to the nest, it indicated that the outside was safe, so the first group of worker ants on standby would immediately go out to hunt for food within 3 seconds. The second group of worker ants will be on standby at the cave entrance, waiting for the information of the first group of worker ants to return. If the first group of worker ants found a lot of food, the second group of worker ants would act immediately. The first group of worker ants continued to stand by at the mouth of the cave after placing their food, forming a compact foraging chain. If the first group of worker ants did not return late, or said that they found little food after returning, the second group of worker ants would not leave the cave.
  Not only are the worker ants collecting food very efficiently, but they are also very good at “assessing” risks. They are well aware of the principle of “more than worth the money” and will not spend too much resources to collect less food. Scientists believe that this behavior is similar to feedback regulation in the human nervous system.
  Feedback regulation refers to the response of the nervous system to the needs of other systems in the human body. Some of the adjustments promote and some inhibit. For a simple example, for example, when you are hungry, your stomach will tell the brain, the brain will remind you that you need to eat, and then you will find something to eat. Feedback regulation process; after you eat a lot of things, the stomach will tell the brain that food is enough, then your brain will tell you not to eat anymore, you will know that you are full, this is a brain that inhibits your behavior Negative feedback regulation process. Driven by these two types of feedback, our human body functions can maintain balance.
  Similar feedback system
  Scientists foraging behavior of ants and compared the human nervous system, like worker ants ant colony venture outside input information human nervous system, workers expedition to the mouth of the cave workers on standby to provide information by post The person judges whether to go out for food or not. Quite simply, if there is a lot of food, the foraging worker ants choose to go out for food, and the expedition worker ants play an exciting role for the foraging worker ants, which is a positive feedback mechanism; if the amount of food is small, the foraging worker ants will not go out, which is a negative feedback mechanism. .
  We humans rely on two feedback mechanisms to achieve a balance of body needs. The absence of one of them will make the body different, and so will the ants. In the foraging behavior of the worker ants, I blindly believe that the information brought by the expedition worker ants is not good. The ant colony must learn to choose to ensure its own safety. For example, in 1936, a biologist saw a group of ants in a circle around a tree. The group of ants was based on the pheromone trail left by the ants who had visited here before. They didn’t think about whether there was any food here, they just followed the pheromone blindly, and then more and more ants joined the circle team, and eventually these ants were exhausted. Just like the “positive feedback” of human beings, when you are hungry, you keep eating, and when you are full, you don’t give “negative feedback” to the brain, so that you eat.
  If these ants, like the foraging worker ants of the needle hair harvesting ants, think that there is no food outside or there is any potential danger, and they do not leave the nest, then this will not happen. The behavior of foraging worker ants can not only ensure the safety of the ant colony, but also make them quickly adapt to the new environment. For example, after exploring the new environment, the exploration worker ants will come back to tell the foraging worker ants, and the foraging worker ants will tell the ants in the cave. In this way, almost all the ants in the ant colony know what the environment is like and make their own choices.
  What is the use of finding that ants behave so similarly to how our human nervous system works? Because information is transmitted very quickly inside our brains and occurs at the molecular level, it is almost impossible to study it by direct observation. If the behavior of the ant colony can be harvested by observing the needle hairs, such as the number of interactions and the interaction time between worker ants preparing to go out and foraging workers, collect data and build a mathematical model to study the human brain nervous system, that is the human brain. A major breakthrough in neurology.