1 Tahrcountry Musings: Anthill: Fiction from EO Wilson

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Anthill: Fiction from EO Wilson

Professor EO Wilson, the world’s most renowned biologist, known as the father of sociobiology has come up with a fiction based on the life of ants. The novel chronicles the rise and fall of a particular ant colony. The novel is based on Wilson’s intimate knowledge about ants.  The renowned biologist imagines exactly what it is like to be an ant and come up with a sure fire winner. Wilson makes ecosystem a central character in the book, to which the ants give body and life.
The ant species, evolved over 100 million years, represents nearly two thirds of the world's insect biomass. Professor Wilson says “ant histories are epics that unfold on picnic grounds", in which "ants are a metaphor for us, and we for them." E.O Wilson adds "An individual ant has a brain one millionth the size of our brain, but still they are capable of quite complicated behaviour”.
Many ant species are capable of learning a maze about half as fast as a rat. They can retain five locations where they can get food, and they can recall how to get there, and retain what time of day the food is offered if it comes regularly." Then there is the mind of the colony. Each ant nest has a distributed intelligence that dovetails through complex interactions to become a communal will. The group in its communal mind has a very good idea of every square inch of the terrain around the nest.
The Anthill chronicle begins, with the death of the queen and the subsequent events that evolve in the life of the colony

 Much of what we know about social insects has been a result of E.O Wilson's research and observation. Professor Wilson officially retired from Harvard in 1996, but continues to hold the posts of Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • April 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-07119-1

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