Army ants' 'living' bridges suggest collective intelligenceQuicklink submitted By Rob Kall Permalink
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Researchers report army ants of the species Eciton hamatum that form “living” bridges across breaks and gaps in the forest floor are more sophisticated than scientists knew. The ants exhibit a level of collective intelligence that could provide new insights into animal behavior and even help in the development of intuitive robots that can cooperate as a group.Ants of E. hamatum automatically form living bridges without any oversight from a “lead” ant, the researchers report. The action of each individual coalesces into a group unit that can adapt to the terrain and also operates by a clear cost-benefit ratio. The ants will create a path over an open space up to the point when too many workers are being diverted from collecting food and prey.
The researchers suggest that these ants are performing a collective computation. At the level of the entire colony