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5D Thinking Team
The Industrious Ants
Saba Irshad Ansari
5D Thinking Team
28 Jan 2022 13:49

The other day, while kneading dough to make Indian bread, I noticed a black ant that seemed to have detected the spilled honey on the slab of our kitchen. I smiled at the ant and continued my work. By the time I was finished, there was a long trail of ants, some heading and others returning from the location. Each of them was bumping its head into the other as they were marching. As I bowed to have a closer look at them, they began dispersing, and in no time the trail disappeared, except for a few who were stuck onto the honey drop. What fantastic creatures they are! These tiny eusocial insects live in extreme harmony and work in coordination tirelessly throughout the day and night.


Ants are classified scientifically into the Formicidae family from the species Formica rufa of Insecta class amongst the Animal kingdom. Ants are found everywhere across the globe, except Antarctica.[1] Argentine ants, pavement ants, carpenter ants, red imported fire ants, etc. are some of the popular species. There are more than 20,000 ant species and all of them display remarkable characteristic features. They exhibit an extraordinary unity and cooperation with each other to support their colony, something which is less common among human beings. Often termed as superorganisms, their colonies are usually composed of workers, soldiers, queens, and drones. “Ant societies have a division of labor, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study.”[2] Only the queen of the colony can reproduce, and if she dies the colony will get completely shattered. They don’t have ears but their sense of feeling- a vibration through their feet- is very strong which allows them to sense danger. They leave behind a pheromone trail on the ground as they walk so that they don’t lose their way and colony members can follow the trail if it leads to a food source. One of the most fascinating facts about the ant is that it can lift 20 times its own body weight. “If a second grader was as strong as an ant, he would be able to pick up a car!”.[3] They act like extremely intelligent creatures and are known to bury their deceased just like humans. They even appear to know that storing dry grains will make them last longer.[4]


Given the fact that ants can lift and carry weights 20 times their own weight, it would be interesting to compare them with the mobile cranes, in general, and crawler cranes, in particular. Crawler cranes are the largest mobile cranes and are also known as lattice cranes or telescopic crawlers. “These are heavy-duty cranes that utilize “tank-like” treads to move throughout a construction site and can lift in excess of 2500 tons. They can lift the heaviest loads and require the most on-site assembly out of all the mobile cranes.”[5]

When we look at the history of crawler cranes, we learn that it was in 1911 that the first of its kind was designed and manufactured by the Bucyrus Company. To lift even heavier weights more features were added to it in the later years. This shows that someone designed and created it in the first place. So, how silly could it be to claim that a random accident or chance has designed and assembled the crane without the involvement of a maker or a manufacturer with a purpose and power? Similarly, is it not reasonable and appropriate to say that ants have a maker too? Team effort, high-tech machinery, and obviously lots of money are required to make one crawler crane. So, have you ever thought about what goes into the making of one ant? The answer is likely to be ‘no’ because we don’t tend to think that way, we don’t observe things around us carefully, we don’t question the existence of our surroundings. We are too busy crediting natural laws and the causes behind every phenomenon. 


Of course, crawler cranes are no match for ants if we think of how they are made. While both of them are made of similar fundamental particles, the latter one consists of billions of living cells which are connected to each other and the entire cosmos. Indeed, ants are dependent upon plants, trees and other creatures and thus are, in a way, connected to them. Their interconnectedness and interdependence with other living and non-living creatures is a clear sign that the One who created the cosmos must be the Creator of all ants. Furthermore, these sophisticated and intelligent creatures speak of their Creator’s attribute as the Best Fashioner who has given ants the ability to organize themselves in a colony so perfectly that humans take inspiration from their work ethic and synchronization.

As tiny as ants are, they also teach us some very important life lessons. Their non-stop work inspires us to work harder to achieve our goals in life. You may have seen them fall down several times while crawling up a wall with a heavy load, but they don’t give up until they get the load to their desired location. In fact, other ants will often come for help if they see one struggling with something. This teaches us that no matter how many times we fail, we should never give up and must always lend a helping hand to someone in need. Through their division of labor, non-stop working, and organized colonies, ants inspire us to work collectively and effectively.

[1] “Ant”. Wikipedia. Retrieved Jan 12, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Ants”. Pest World for Kids. Retrieved Feb 15, 2022, from https://www.pestworldforkids.org/pest-guide/ants/

[4] Lifestyle and Communication of Ants. Available on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78JUE6hVnTQ

[5] Lexie Keller, What are the Different Types of Cranes Used for Construction? (Jan 8, 2020). Retrieved Feb 15, 2022, from https://www.mazzellacompanies.com/learning-center/what-are-the-different-types-of-cranes-used-for-construction/


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