E.O. Wilson, the “Ant man”

E.O. Wilson, the “Ant man”


it’s been said that every kid has a bug
period, you know when you’re nine or ten, you bring home spiders and all sorts of creepy crawlies in jars and so on, and I had a bug and period but I never grew
out of it. And I was just delighted to find as I
got older that there’re careers in science working on bugs and one thing led to another. I’ve been at Harvard for fifty one years,
I came as a graduate student, and during that period of time I’ve worked
on a wide variety of subjects many of them pivoted on the study of ants. First of all from ants we’ve learned an
awful lot about basic biology for example, how they communicate almost exclusively with chemicals this is such a different world, it’s almost the kind of world you would imagine on another planet how these social creatures communicate, not through
words, sounds, not by the vision, but by letting out different odors to communicate messages. they’ve taught us that. We’ve learned a lot about
the origin of altruism and cooperation in evolution. That’s one level. The second level would be what can they teach us about our, the proper conduct of our own societies, and the answer has got to be nada zilch nothing. We don’t want to live like ants. First of all they are the most war like of all animals, colonies are always fighting. And second of course as everyone knows they’re
highly subordinated to the communal activities there are no three freedoms, or no bill of rights, there’s nothing. Because they are programmed you know, to act so closely together and I like to say just to tweak my Marxist friends that Karl Marx Karl Marx was right he just had the wrong species. My most recent work, and the great deal of my time and energy have
gone into the exploration of the world’s biological diversity which we now understand is mostly unknown,
particularly in the small creatures like insects and bacteria. I would say more than ninety percent of the species haven’t even been discovered but we’re also learning and beginning to put
a measure on a very fats and accelerating rate of extinction of those species. We’re wiping out a large part
of biodiversity/ I’m on the board of directors or advisory boards of most of the large contributing organizations
the ones that deal with the global environment So I’ve been very much involved in laying plans to to save as much of the world’s ecosystems as possible and most particularly in the developing countries that have tropical forest, coral reefs, and other biologically rich environments and I’m optimistic that before too long we can develop were world wide
strategies that will save a large part of the world’s
remaining biological diversity

4 thoughts on “E.O. Wilson, the “Ant man””

  1. I'm sure the best way to reduce global warming and to bring the world to sustainable development would be to reduce the number of yankees by a significant percentage, say half. Fewer yankees would mean that nice people wouldn't need to run into them but half as often, thus reducing pressure on the world's ecosystems and providing habitat for marginalized species. And just THINK of the oxygen we could save! Much less the CO2 we could prevent from entering our atmosphere.

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