Ants - PDF by Julian Huxley

Ants by Julian Huxley 

Ants by Julian Huxley

The social insects in general, and ants in particular, are, with birds and with man, the fine flowers of the tree of life. Had not their advance to greater size and strength been checked through limitations inherent from the first in the fundamentals of insect organization, they might well have evolved into b^eings so formidable as to have held the vertebrates back in their conquest of the land, and forever prevented the development of man.

Innumerable comparisons have been made between human society and the social organization of ant, bee, or termite; theories have been advanced and morals pointed, Utopian schemes encouraged and whole theories of the State built up for man on the basis of analogy with these little insects. Almost without exception, the moral has been false, the analogy misleadingly used. It will be well to point out at the start some of the radical differences between social insects and social man. 

In tile first place, the development from non-human to human mammal has occurred but once,* while the transition from non*social to social insects has occurred on a number of separate occasions. Three main grades of social habit may be distinguished. In the lowest, there is some sort of family life, either the mother or both parents living with and helping the developing young.

This may be called the subsocial, or family, grade. The second is the true social, or colonial, grade, in which the young when fully grown, stay with their parents with them in building the nest and caring for further broods of young. The highest grade is that of the caste- society, in which some of the young are transformed into unsexed “neuters,” who take off the shoulders of the fertile caste all the duties of the colony, save only that of reproduction.

Contents of the book :
The ant state - life history - food-economics - ant senses - ways of life among ants - warfare and slavery - parasites termites or “white ants - ants and men - bibliography - index

Author: Julian Huxley
Publication Date: 1923

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