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Why weren't Ants the first Astronauts?

Dieter Fensel
Publishing Date:
STI Innsbruck

Ants are fantastic animals. For 40 millions years they have developed cultural skills such as joined parental care, joined hunting, cooperation and labor division, cattle husbandry, and agriculture. In biological terms they form super organisms where individual ants act like cells in an organism. Based on their cultural skills they are the pre-dominant living form in their ecological niches and resemble roughly the same total biomass as humans do. What looks very impressive on the one hand, looks also very disappointing on the other. Humans developed such skill significantly later, for example human agriculture evolved around 10,000 years ago. Still, humans have invented telephones, computers, and the Internet, and have visited the moon. In this article we use our insights in internet and Web technology to explain this fact. We also use this explanation to explore the development potential that arise from the fact that humans, for the first time in their history, start to form a new super organism, a brain for mankind.

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