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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. 

Olga Bogatyreva Posted by Olga Bogatyreva

Dr. O. Bogatyreva is a broadly qualified expert in the fields of creativity, innovation and advanced design, inventive problem solving. Her main interests are creative problem-solving techniques, psychology of invention, and teaching methods for different cultural environments.

Olga runs training courses in creativity, invention and bio-inspired design worldwide, consulting European Space Agency, UK Ministry of Defence and many other large companies. She also developed unique online course on creative problem-solving for industry with the original educational videos initially ordered by the University of Bath (UK).

Being Internationally certified expert in TRIZ (powerful technique for systematic invention process) Olga sold two patents on laboratory equipment, which was designed, manufactured, tested and widely used. 

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