Two genius ants show cooperation, inventive thinking, operating with a tool and moreover... “knowing” and using basic physics: creating a lever for lifting the branch.
Two red wood ants F. pratensis Retz. were carrying a locust leg to the nest. The largest part of the locust leg happened to get stuck under a small, dry tree branch (which is very big and heavy for an ant). Attempts to move thi obstacle were fruitless and ants left the prey and started to wander around searching for something. We thought that they had given up and had decided to find another prey (their behaviour was similar to those ants who investigated the feeding spot). But we kept watching the situation our patience was rewarded! Ten minutes later one of the ants came back with a straw (which looked like a big stick to the ant). Ant put one end of this stick underneath the dry branch at a sharp angle and pressed the opposite end down using this construction as a lever! The other ant was pulling the locust leg while the “inventor” was pressing on the lever. By doing this several times, they released the locust leg and transported it to the nest safely. These extremely clever hunters showed us an ant’s potential for creative decision-making, planning actions, knowing simple natural laws, and using tools.