Watch: The incredible architecture of an underground ant nest

They’re small, they get into the sugar bowl, and they’re almost everywhere. Some even bite or sting. But the little things in life shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated – and this is especially true when it comes to ants.

We have to warn you: the below video may blow your mind. Before proceeding, though, here are some facts that’ll serve to make it even more amazing.

1. Don’t mess with a ‘superorganism’

We’ve all heard of “mob mentality”, but there is also something known as “group intelligence”, and one stellar example of this is the ant superorganism. Each individual ant acts, without the co-ordination of a central authority, to further the well-being of the collective. Billions of harmonious individual actions achieve results that seem as if they were planned by well-trained engineers. For example, the largest ant nest ever found measured almost 6 000 km in length, and was accomplished by the efforts of billions of workers – all without municipal approval.

2. Ants are chatter boxes

Ants communicate with one another through pheromones, sounds and touch. Through simple messages between individuals, a massive network of tasks can be carried out. One way to imagine this is to visualise a brain: that is, millions of single neurons – each doing a small operation – communicate with other neurons to produce complex and intelligent behaviours.

3. Ants are weightlifters

Whereas dung beetles are the undisputed champions of heavy lifting, ants can hold their own, too. Some ants can carry 50 times their own body weight over considerable distances. When working together, this adds up to earth moving endeavours that should humble us humans. To put this into perspective, a person who weighs 80 kg could carry 4 tonnes (an adult African Bush elephant comes in at 6 tonnes).

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