|Beautiful contingent of leaf-cutter ants|
When I got to know about this question, many opinions were passing in my head. Is it our forefathers, people from Harappa or Indus valley civilization, ancient people before the nativity of Jesus Christ or was it the most oldest humans existed on earth ‘Neanderthals?’ And it went on and on like that until I found out the actual answer. It’s not about us (humans) all the time. It is a tiny little creature known for its teamwork and perseverance. Yes! It’s the Ant.
Essentially, our thought process runs in a unidirectional way, i.e. we remember only about the human race and ethnicity, but there are more than that in this Earth. Once I raised this question in one of my lectures, the answers were like Chinese, Indians, Europeans, Americans, and so on,. People tend to forget about other things that exist in this earth. Alright, enough of philosophies, let us go into the topic.
Ants, known for its coordination and team spirit does fungus farming for its bread and butter. And they are doing this fungus-farming for the past 50 million years, according to research published in Science magazine. These ants not only grow fungus gardens, underground for food, but also have adapted to handling parasitic "weeds" that infect their crops.
Ants have a special chemical compound called ‘Chemoreceptors’ in their body that they use as an antibiotic to control the weeds. It also cultivates a kind of bacteria outsides of their physical structures. These bacteria produce an antibiotic that specifically inhibits the growth of the weed fungi, and the ants use this antibiotic to save their gardens tidy. Researchers also found a novel anti-fungal compound called nystanin used by ants to protect their farm. Humans are just beginning to understand that this is one way to slow down the rise of drug-resistant bacteria.
Their work model is very polished, head dedicates one worker ant each for a fungus and monitors its execution while in employment. If at all the head finds fault with the worker ants, it will exile them to death brutally. As per the researchers agriculture evolved from this beautiful creature. Apart from that, one more thing that I think has also evolved from them, i.e. the most famous ‘on-the-job-training-come-assessment’ programmes that we all end up dying under I-know-everything-type superior.
Who is the most experienced farmer living on earth? Reviewed by T R Gowthama on 12:16 Rating: