All Things Wild

Paramedic Ants (with Dr. Erik Frank)

January 25, 2022 Martin
All Things Wild
Paramedic Ants (with Dr. Erik Frank)
Show Notes

Today’s episode is with Erik Frank from the University of Wuerzburg in the department of animal ecology and tropical biology! He has made some groundbreaking discoveries about ants, they have paramedics! The ants he studies, the Matabele ant, is constantly at war with termites, attacking multiple colonies per day to take them as food. These battles often leave ants injured. Erik has discovered that these injured ants are taken from the battlefield and nursed back to health by these paramedic ants!

Get ready to have your mind blown and be faced with questions about consciousness, human society and life itself! Thank you Erik for being on the show!

You can find him on Twitter @ETF1989

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Important Times:

  • 00:10 Intro
  • 01:30 Welcome Erik! How and why did you start studying ants?
  • 03:45 The Matabele ants
  • 04:55 The role and jobs of ants
  • 06:20 How are termites divided up? Workers and soldiers
  • 06:50 How do the ants kill the termites?
  • 08:05 Tell us about your big discovery: ant paramedics!
  • 12:45 Which ants do they help?
  • 14:00 The individual vs society
  • 17:45 Ants could be ahead of us in evolution
  • 19:25 How are they treating the injured ants?
  • 21:00 Ant anatomy: tongues
  • 22:00 How they treat wounds
  • 24:10 How long does the treatment and rehabilitation take?
  • 25:05 Could you describe the battle between the ants and the termites
  • 28:05 Termite foraging
  • 29:15 How far away do the ants and termites live from each other?
  • 30:30 What predators do these ants have?
  • 32:30 What decisions does an ant as an individual make? 
  • 33:25 Consciousness vs instinct
  • 34:30 What do you think? What’s your opinion on any consciousness?
  • 35:05 Brain size
  • 335:40 Do you think they are aware that they are alive?
  • 37:35 What is next for you? How can people find and follow your work?
  • 38:40 Outro