How many ants in the world?

In the days before the world wide web, not many people would have known how many ants there were in the world.

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And if you wanted to find out, it wouldn’t have been obvious where to begin looking. Would a trip to the University library yield the information, or would it result in a whole day wasted?

Perhaps the best way to find out would have been to locate a friendly biologist who might already know, and might be prepared to tell you if you flattered him or her by calling them an “ant expert”.

Thank goodness for search engines! Now, the information is out there for everyone to see – although that doesn’t necessarily make it easy to find.

Recently, deadman43-ga asked a simple $5 question: “How many ants are there in the world?“. Bobbie7-ga rose to the challenge and was able to tell him that according to “ant expert E O Wilson, there are an estimated 100,000,000,000,000,000 ants in the world”.

Last year, pinkfreud-ga was able to assure monroe22-ga that yes, the total biomass of ants really does exceed the biomass of all the people in the world. So, incidentally, does the total biomass of squid and of antarctic krill.

Pinkfreud’s husband was so moved by this that he felt compelled to suggest that all humans should be eating more junk food in order to increase our biomass as quickly as possible!

I suppose that eating ants would help even more.

(photo by hagit berkovich)

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