FRESH IDEAS: Farmer ants, pretty smart

From The New York Times: “We humans think we’re pretty smart because we invented farming. But we didn’t. In a rain forest in South America millions of years ago, itty-bitty ants with brains no bigger than a pinpoint had already figured it out. They started farming fungus for food — probably not too long after the Chicxulub meteor impact caused the mass extinction event that obliterated up to three-quarters of the rest of Earth’s plants and animals.

“Today some 250 species of ants in tropical forests, deserts and grasslands throughout the Americas build fungi gardens in climate-controlled chambers underground. They weed them. They water them. Some even use antibiotics or chemicals to keep harmful bacteria away from their crop.”

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