Monday, May 19, 2008

Ant Art

This photo shows ant biologist Walter Tschinkel gazing at a suspended dental plaster cast he made of a nest of the Florida harvester ant. Extracting it from the ground required digging a hole nearly nine feet deep and five feet wide in the floor of the Apalachicola National Forest where it was made. Tschinkel says roughly 5,000 ants live in a nest this size which the ants can build from scratch in about five days. The CBS Sunday Morning show had a quick piece on Tschinkel that peaked my interest. Supposedly science museums are buying up his ant colony casts for display. As cool as they look, I don't understand why no one seems to care that he is destroyning these ant colonies. What have we learned from the missing honey bees? I imagine that killing 5000 ants has to have some effect on the environment.

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