Speaking of alien intelligence, but closer to home:|
Are ants, by all intents and purposes, intelligent?
Ants learn, teach, build, farm*, rear 'cattle', wage wars, take slaves and generally exhibit extremely sophisticated behaviour by any species' standards, which makes their existence as small insects incredible.
I'd love to know more about how their knowledge has spread - obviously it looks like collective Borg/Geth-like intelligence to some degree, but I'd like to know how far the abilities of individuals extend. If it turns out that they're dimwitted individually but become geniuses in large groups, I really want to know how the fuck that works.
*Some species even go as far as smoking or fumigating fungi with bacteria to ward off parasites.
From a different site:
"Under the care of the ants, the aphids thrive. The ants gain the aphid honeydew 'excrement'; the aphids gain protectors who also act as 'chauffeurs'. However, the ants, not the aphids, appear to control the relationship. This is demonstrated occasionally when a winged female aphid is hatched, and then tries to fly off to a different host plant, away from the ants. It is then that the ants show their authority by seizing the female and carrying her back into their nest."
And apparently, like sharks, they've hardly evolved at all for about 60 million years.
Ant queens exhibit *some* degree of individualism/selfishness
Also, I remember reading that a small part of certain ant species' colonies is made up of ants who are utterly useless and live on 'welfare' - they stumble about, getting in the way and doing what they feel like, but the colony still tolerates, feeds and protects them. Which I find odd for an insect supposedly characterized by slavish devotion to the group.