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No. 16: Summer 1981

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Why are there no slave ant rebellions?

Some ant species regularly raid the nests of other ants and carry some of them off into slavery. An oft-discussed question is: Why don't the slaves rebel or at least try to escape back to their home nest? There seems to be no evolutionary advantage in remaining in passive slavery promoting the fortunes of the slave-makers. The opportunities to run off and rebel are never taken. It would seem that slave-ant passivity is a marked disadvantage that has slipped through evolution's net. Regardless of the reason, an imbalance exists.

(Gladstone, Douglas E.; "Why There Are No Ant Slave Rebellions," American Naturalist, 117:779, 1981.)

Comment. Perhaps evolution just hasn't had time to redress the situation and even now is preparing clever mutations to rescue the slave ants; i.e., improve their fitness.

From Science Frontiers #16, Summer 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987