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WAR AND PEACE IN THE WORLD OF ANTS
6PM, Friday, March 30, 2012
Life Sciences A, Room 191 -- NEW DATE & LOCATION
Free parking available in Gammage Auditorium lot
Join Pulitzer Prize author and ASU Foundation Professor, Bert Hoelldobler to explore the parallels between ant and human conflict in this prequel to the Great Debate: Xenophobia, why do we fear others?
Ants are the most altruistic social animals on this planet. The single most important quality of an ant colony is the existence of a worker caste, contend to surrender their own reproduction in order to raise sisters and brothers. They risk their lives on behalf their society. Some individuals even commit suicide in defense of their queen, the only female caste that produces offspring. Hundreds of thousands of workers in an ant society cooperate in an astounding system of division of labor that is regulated by a sophisticated communication system.
However, there is another side to the coin of ant behavior. Ants are arguably the most aggressive and warlike of all animals. The foreign policy aim can be summed up as follows: aggression and territorial conquest, genocidal annihilation or enslavement of neighboring societies whenever possible.
This is the dilemma of social evolution: Wherever closely integrated societies exist, there is discrimination and rejection of foreigners. These disconcerting evolutionary principles we find in many social species, including humans. In fact we can demonstrate that cooperation within a society advances as competition for limited resources with neighboring societies increases, because greater cooperation improves the chances to be successful in competitive contests.
This will be a free event. Seating is limited. Information will be posted on this webpage, as well as Facebook (/ASUOriginsProject) and Twitter (@asuORIGINS). Contact email@example.com with questions.