We the Insects of the Earth, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Human Race.
HOUSTON — Look out, Texas Gulf Coast, here comes Paratrechina pubens, or something like that Scientists do not quite know what to call them, they are so new. But folks in the damp coastal belt south of Houston have their own names (some of them printable) for the little invaders now seemingly everywhere: on the move underfoot; infesting woodlands, yards and gardens; nesting in electrical boxes and causing shorts; and even raising anxiety at Hobby Airport and the Johnson Space Center.
Yes,each about the size of the letter “i” on this page.
On several counts ants can be regarded as the premier social insects.They are the most widely distributed of the major eusocial groups,ranging from the artic tree line south to Tierra del Fuego,to the tip of South Africa, and to Tasmania, and ocurring on virtually every oceanic island between Iceland and the Aleutians in the north. They are numerically the most abundant of social insects.The ants contain a greater number of known genera and species than all other eusocial groups combined .
from The Insect Societies by Edward O.Wilson
Epigenesis and The Evolution of Social Systems by E.O Wilson
The remaining problems of biology, which include the nature of the molecular regulation of development, the relation between micro- and macroevolution, the mind/body association, and the linkage between genetic and cultural evolution, all appear to be most readily soluble by attention to the epigenesis of individual organisms. Societies offer special advantages in the analysis of epigenesis. The constituent parts, consisting of the whole member organisms, can be observed more directly than cells and organelles. In the case of social insects, the components can be separated and reassembled as "pseudomutant" colonies, which can then be compared with the normal forms of the very same colonies studied on alternate days. Using this technique, for example, I have analyzed the optimization of some aspects of the division of labor in leaf-cutting ants and identified net energetic yield as the apparent aspect of foraging that has been maximized in the division of labor. A comparable approach can be applied in the study of human genetic and cultural evolution. The choices made by individuals during socialization, which in many categories of cognition and behavior display innate bias, can be translated with appropriate techniques into statistical descriptions of cultural diversity. Natural selection acting on behavior within particular cultures alters the frequencies of the genes underlying the developmental processes of cognition and behavior. The result is postulated to be a "co-evolutionary circuit" that links genetic and cultural evolution in an inseverable manner.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Posted by Marguerita Bornstein at 5/16/2008 11:00:00 PM