Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

Ant networks could be more complex than Google algorithms

Ant Networks Could Be More Complex Than Google Algorithms

When ants raid a family picnic to pick away at leftovers, it might look like pure chaos. But, that's really not the case. (Flickr / Dawn Camp)

In fact, it's the opposite. And, new research suggests the tiny crawlers' rank-and-file methods might be so good, so systematic and efficient, that they beat out perhaps our most prolific Internet search engine.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims the ants devise "highly complex networks" to collect food that are "far more efficient" than all the algorithms and formulas used by Google - yes, Google - to shoot out its search results. (Via Potsdam Institute for Climate Research)

A study co-author told The Independent: "I'd go so far as to say that the learning strategy involved in that, is more accurate and complex than a Google search. These insects are, without doubt, more efficient than Google in processing information about their surroundings."

Still, an individual ant is not the smartest creature. The magic happens when they come together. Here's how the little buggers do it.

First, a single ant takes whatever crumb it finds back to its nest, but, in doing so, leaves behind a trail of pheromones that marks the path. Then, other ants follow suit, with more pheromones released, creating a more refined path. Which then attracts even more ants. Lather, rinse and repeat, and pretty soon an optimal path is forged between food source and their nest. (Via YouTube / Karl Westworth, politplatschquatsch, yannigk)

The study had a second finding as well - that the age of the ant made a difference in how well it could track down food.

As Time explains, older ants have more experience, and, therefore, better street smarts, allowing them to create those optimal pathways to food easier even though younger ants might move quicker. The younglings then just kind of learn what they can and wait their turn.

Join the discussion

1000|Characters 1000  Characters
donlewis1016 May 28 2014 at 7:23 AM

Maybe they're more efficient because they don't start everything with a time wasting commercial.

Flag Reply +19 rate up
1 reply
jelun donlewis1016 May 28 2014 at 9:57 AM

People who pay for their news don't have that issue.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jeffreyluckyana May 28 2014 at 12:02 AM

Why was the baby ant confused?
Because all his uncles were ants.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
1 reply
Calvin jeffreyluckyana May 28 2014 at 11:20 AM


Flag Reply +1 rate up
WELCOME HTMS! May 28 2014 at 7:18 AM

Read Psalms 6: 6-8. God already knew this.....imagine that!

6. Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
LilAnnie2012 May 28 2014 at 1:36 AM

Seriously, one day I was sitting outside on our swing, listening to the birds and watching this little squirrel jump from tree to tree and thought how cool that was to be able to do such a thing! They can jump a long way!!! Anyway, I looked down and noticed some really little ants all going along in a row. I looked around and found where they came from but wondered where they were so intend on going. Like little soldiers or something. They all went in a row, one behind the other. I was intrigued! Then I saw one come back carrying something....looked like a moth wing....don't know. Anyway, it was fascinating to watch and realized how organized ants are. Just was cool to me!!!!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
Laurak303 May 28 2014 at 5:29 AM

Anyone who didn't know ants are extremely smart and organized, has never watched them! They are fascinating little creatures!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Doug Fordon May 28 2014 at 7:38 AM

Great, there smart in groups. I say let them have a go at Congress, couldn't do any worse.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
calderasf May 28 2014 at 1:11 AM

Who ever thought it was chaos these ants are smart as one working orginism.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
alfredschrader May 28 2014 at 6:39 AM

I have a citrus garden on my estate. I've seen ants pick up aphids in their jaws (tiny living insects), carry
them up a grapefruit tree and apply them to the sugar producing leaves.
I can't apply aphids even if I wanted to.
These are very intelligent creatures.
I started giving them a teaspoon of sugar once a week. Now, I can stand barefoot in the nest. They protect me and my property. They even attack any termite that approaches.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
3 replies
dwtomczyk May 28 2014 at 6:55 AM

ant's have been around longer than man

Flag Reply +3 rate up
LilAnnie2012 May 28 2014 at 1:28 AM

'Ant' y'all just hilarious!!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
aol~~ 1209600



World Series

More From Our Partners