I was reading a science paper abstract from the Smithsonian about ant farming this morning that rather delighted me:
World’s first sustainable, industrial-scale agriculture began when crops became dependent on their ant farmers
However what really puzzled me was this section:
Just as humans living in a dry or temperate climate might raise tropical plants in a greenhouse, agricultural ants carefully maintain the humidity within their fungal gardens. “If things are getting a little too dry, the ants go out and get water and they add it,” Schultz said. “If they’re too wet, they do the opposite.” So even when conditions above the surface become inhospitable, fungi can thrive inside the underground, climate-controlled chambers of an agricultural ant colony.
Who decides that the humidity needs to be modified??? How do they even know? Unless they’ve been hiding things from us all these years, they don’t use fancy gadgets to measure the humidity. And how are these decisions communicated without language?
Or does the appropriate part of the ant colony just somehow know that this needs to be attended to?
How did they learn all this? And how is this knowledge passed on to their descendants?
Which leads to my next question: Are ants a higher form of life than we are? How do we get to arrive at this level of intrinsic intelligence without external technological crutches?