Oddities&Endities

Friday, June 30, 2006

Smart footwork


Stilts confirm ants count their paces
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
(Filed: 30/06/2006)

A bizarre experiment that involved putting ants on stilts has demonstrated that they count paces to measure distances.
Drs Matthias Wittlinger and Harald Wolf at University of Ulm, Germany, and Prof Rudiger Wehner in Zurich, altered the legs on a group of ants to test the idea that they use stride length.
Some had pig bristles glued on to their legs, while others had legs shortened by amputation.
First some marched on normal legs to a feeder, where they were placed on stilts and sent home.
The stiltwalkers misjudged the 10-metre distance back and overshot the nest entrance.
When the experiment was repeated with the short-legged ants, they reached their goal too early, the scientists report today in the journal Science.
Daily Telegraph

4 Comments:

Blogger Kristen said...

Was this funded by tax dollars? Because last time I checked, there are still hungry people everywhere. We don't need to be paying ANYONE to glue stilts onto ant legs when my 13-year-old cousin will do it for free.

11:00 AM  
Blogger ByronB said...

Your cousin has a great future in science.


Or possibly the Iranian Secret Police.

11:22 AM  
Blogger gazza27 said...

Did they knock the ant out first?

8:17 PM  
Blogger ByronB said...

From what I can gather, if there were any complaints, they were stamped on pretty smartly!

12:23 PM  

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