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World dominated by ants!

  1. Jan 2, 2013 #1
    Humans don't have the best physical strength among other creatures in any field ( vision, smell, hearing, strength etc) But still humans are the most powerful of all the creatures. We can kill an elephant, flying birds or swimming whales if we desire to. So it appears that brain is all that matters.
    So, how the world would be if ants had the same brain capacity as humans and humans had the brains like dogs. Would ants be able to reach the moon?
    Has someone fictionalized this concept already and made movie or written a novel?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2013 #2


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    If unicorns existed, would their horns be more than one foot long?
  4. Jan 2, 2013 #3


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    Phinds has it right. There's no sensible avenue for speculation here. For science fiction there's scope for interesting stories exploring what a society of sentient, eusocial and polymorphic organisms would look like but there's nothing here to discuss.
  5. Jan 2, 2013 #4
    Not all but few females can grow horns that long. :).
  6. Jan 2, 2013 #5
    If all the humans were magically transformed into ants tomorrow but brain strength and memory remained unchanged, and all the previous man-made things vanished, will humans (now ants) be able to redo all those things?
    The question basically is - can all our present technologies (weapons, electrics, vehicles, spaceships) scaled down to ants size?
  7. Jan 2, 2013 #6

    Vanadium 50

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    Them! Them!
  8. Jan 2, 2013 #7


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    Once again, if you are going to allow for magic in your premise, then your results are meaningless. Make up ANYTHING you like and it follows logically from a false premise.
  9. Jan 2, 2013 #8
    OK, then answer only:
    Can all technologies be scaled down?
  10. Jan 2, 2013 #9

    jim mcnamara

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    The ants already won the title of dominant:

    Hölldobler and Wilson (1990), estimate up to 1/3 (33%) of the
    terrestrial animal biomass (not including aquatic animals, or
    terrestrial and aquatic flowering plants and microorganisms)
    ants and termites.

    Hölldobler, Bert, and E. O. Wilson. 1990. 'The Ants'. Harvard University Press.
  11. Jan 2, 2013 #10


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    Probably some could, some couldn't. Most significant modern stuff runs on electronics. If it COULD be scales down further, don't you reckon it would have already been done?

    This thread is a waste of time.
  12. Jan 2, 2013 #11


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    Although this predates even my time, something similar (except for size) was a cliché of early pulp-magazine science fiction (say 1930s-1940s). Isaac Asimov wrote a short-short story as a "take-off" of it. It was about a young science fiction fan, one of whose relatives disapproved of his tastes, and constantly urged him to stop reading the stuff and "face reality." One afternoon he fell asleep, into a dream in which multiple giant clones of this relative were advancing on him, shaking their fingers and admonishing him, "Eddie, you must face reality!" He realized he was dreaming and had to wake up quickly, otherwise he would suffer the worst science-fiction doom of all:

    He would be trapped, trapped in a world of giant aunts!

    [added] I forgot to mention the title of the story: "Dreamworld", first published in a magazine in 1955 and reprinted in some Asimov anthologies including Opus 100 which is probably where I first read it.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  13. Jan 2, 2013 #12


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    Oh god JT, I gave a huge groan when I read your spoiler...
  14. Jan 2, 2013 #13


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    Same :tongue2:
  15. Jan 2, 2013 #14
    There is a kind of nuclear weapon, called a neutron bomb, that supposedly kills people without damaging buildings. Cockroaches can survive anything. So if we use these weapons to wipe ourselves out, some alien archaeologists are going to visit this planet and be totally confused by what they see.
  16. Jan 2, 2013 #15


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    There's nothing more fun than a well planned practical joke, especially when it involves alien archaeologists. Let's do this! http://www.websmileys.com/sm/happy/783.gif
  17. Jan 4, 2013 #16


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    Yes, they have. One of the major problems would be that ants are slow typists, which would severely limit their use of computers. In fact, an ant doesn't have enough mass to push down one of the letter keys even if they throw their entire body onto the key. They have to deposit grains of sand, one by one, until the mass is eventually sufficient to depress the key.

    But, they'd be able to make do using the tools available to them.

    The Program
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  18. Jan 10, 2013 #17
    I wonder if your super-brain ants would still have trouble manipulating fire and metals.

    Any given tool is derived from previous generation tools and the toolmaker's natural ability, all the way back to first generation tools which were derived from the toolmaker's ability and whatever was just lying around.

    With few previous generations of tools, humans can build a forge, a bellows, an anvil of sorts, and dig ore. I must admit I'm not especially familiar with all the neolithic methods of making fire, but apparently we could do that, too. We now have all the ingredients to start making metal tools, from whence come the beginnings of combustion engines, vehicles, spaceships, etc.

    But how would even a swarm of perfectly cooperating ants get as far as making a metal rod?
    I feel like they'd have to go about it in a completely different way than us. Or more generally: if the ants started with tools that could effectively move large objects for them, then perhaps with brainpower alone they could still be all set. But if they begin with no tools for effectively moving large objects, how do they get the first one?
  19. Feb 6, 2013 #18
    I believe there is a link between us being able to do stuff with our hands and our brains evolving because of it. And people in the field probably know thats the way it happened (maybe).

    Mathematics started out with somebody drawing a stick through dirt. You would have to give Ants more than just man sized brains (capacitywise). You would have to give them hands and whatnot. At what point do you stop calling them ants and antfaced tiny humans?
  20. Feb 19, 2013 #19
    Did any of you watch science mystery theater 3000?

    I remember one episode they watched an old 1960s movie about an alien invasion and when the aliens first came out of their spaceship it was revealed that they where gigantic alien ants. It was actually pretty scary but that was mostly because of the cool noise they made. Someone else had to have seen that episode besides me right?
  21. Feb 19, 2013 #20
    Here in Bali the ants made a nest outside of my home out of living coconut leaves glued together, the whole thing hanging from the frond like a scrotum. The level of cooperation necessary to do that is incredible. If they can do that I figure they could do just about anything. Besides, even human beings are pretty much ants compared with the forces that we attempt to control. So if we can do it, I don't see why they couldn't.
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