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Old 06-01-2021, 04:09 PM   #51 (permalink)
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Old 06-01-2021, 04:21 PM   #52 (permalink)
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They should make a cake the size of a building. Then dig an intricate series of tunnels in the ground. Then you take a hundred people and just have them get in a line and just go grab pieces of the cake and take it into the human hill and then go back out for more until the cake is gone. I'd do that ****.
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Old 06-01-2021, 04:28 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Can I wear an ant cologne and be accepted in their colony?
It seems like you could

It does seem like ants can tell nestmates apart from non-nestmates (from another colony) based on smell, but it is unclear to me whether they are able to sniff out kin from non-kin.. which should be an important factor in how interactions evolve.

Edit:

Might seem so simple it's really dumb, but perhaps a combination of being unable to recognize kin coupled with some kind of constraint that inhibits the evolution of this ability is all ants need to evolve these weidly altruistic supercolonies.
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:34 PM   #54 (permalink)
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It seems like you could

It does seem like ants can tell nestmates apart from non-nestmates (from another colony) based on smell, but it is unclear to me whether they are able to sniff out kin from non-kin.. which should be an important factor in how interactions evolve.
are you antkin?
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:45 PM   #55 (permalink)
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let's not be antagonistic
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Are beehives and ant colonies unnatural? Cause they cooperate on a level we could hardly dream of.
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Old 06-01-2021, 09:55 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Fanta is disgusting. ****ing antI-semites.
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Old 06-04-2021, 11:20 PM   #57 (permalink)
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Another source of conflict seem to be in ant species where the shapes (morphology) of ants are more similar. The typical queen is ideally suited for egg-laying while a worker is not, so this would reinforce how a worker should rather spread her own genes by using the queen as her sexual proxy. However, if queens and workers are physically more similar and more alike in capabilities, that seems to increase the level of violent conflict.
Yes, this actually is part of the logic behind Wilson's suggestion that some types of colonies could qualify as superorganisms.

There was a documentary I saw years ago by national geographic which highlighted the ways in which colonies exist along a certain sort of spectrum of eusociality. It was the same documentary I mentioned earlier which showed one of the workers in a colony start to try to go into the process of laying eggs and she was physically restrained and prevented from doing so by her sisters.

This was in a long legged ant colony, where the difference in morphology between the queen and the workers was not as drastically pronounced.

The workers weren't infertile, they just tended not to reproduce. In other colonies, however, the workers are born sterile and cannot reproduce. Their only reproductive outlet is through the queen which in essence means they are intrinsically tied to the well being of the colony.

That is how it is suggested that traits can be selected for on the basis of making the colony more efficient. To my mind it's not much different than traits being selected for that make your body more equipped to survive to reproduction.

If the genes of the colony flow strictly through the queen, then it seems like conceptualizing the colony as a sort of "body" with the queen as its reproductive organ is not all that different from the picture Dawkins paints of how genes eventually started coding to build robots (organisms) to carry the genes around and propagate them.

Maybe there is something I'm missing but I don't quite see the conflict there. Since it's genes that are being selected for, not individuals, why must we insist the individuals necessarily be self interested?. If a colony of individuals which are born into specific castes to work for the purpose of facilitating the queens reproduction is a more effective way of spreading said genes than allowing for more individualism then why wouldn't natural selection favor it?

BTW I read the selfish gene years ago... Could probably use a refresher but I'm familiar with it and as I noted above I don't really see a conflict between his thesis and the idea of a superorganism
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Old 06-04-2021, 11:54 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Also you asked am I in Wilson's camp... Not at all I'm only vaguely familiar with him tbh. I don't take any hard stances one way or the other but the way he articulates the superorganism seems to make sense to me... But wtf do I know?

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Real question though: I know tropical and sidereal astrology are based on different coordinates. That obviously influences the alignments and associated readings, but are they approached differently and have you noticed if one leads to more consistent (some might say rigid) self-analysis than the other?
https://johnwilkesboothblog.wordpress.com/
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Old 06-05-2021, 11:21 AM   #59 (permalink)
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You may be missing something. The gene view / kin selection / inclusive fitness theory predicts normal one family/ monogamous queen ant colonies just fine because the ants are related and have the haplodiploid sex system.

However, the problem is the super colonies for aforementioned reasons. The ants are cooperating with ants to whom they are not (very) related, which seems like it would not evolve and also would be unstable.

Reiterating quickly a couple of things:
  • Altruism - as in a gene sacrificing it's fitness for the sake of other genes - is a losing strategy. The gene by definition doesn't take care of itself in a competitive way. Natural selection weeds such genes out.
  • But if you somehow get a group of altruists, then it is generally very good to be a selfish individual in that group (take from all, give nothing vack). Hence, selfish genes and strategies would be expected to invade a group of altruists

Wilson, as far as I can tell, says that groups of altruists outcompete groups of selfish individuals. But AFAIK his group selection idea doesn't explain how pressure on groups also turn into pressure on the individual. For example, queens and their genes compete against many other queens with their own genes. It's easy to imagine some of the selection pressure that would come from that. Queens and their genes make and shape colonies. Their everyday conflicts would shape those genes. While altruistic groups may be competitive, I still can't quite see what pressure there is on these genes to evolve 'nicely' on behalf of a largely unrelated group. What's the mechanism?

I currently don't feel like group selection is the answer, but I'll admit it's a conundrum. I suspect it's a varied explanation that has a lot to do with ant ecology coupled with possible constraints / limits. Like I wrote, if ants CAN'T tell which ants are kin and which are not (just nestmates from non-nestmates), then something as simple as that should be expected to turn them altruistic. The reason is their ancestral trait is that ALL of an anthill used to be kin. There was no other way, hence they didn't have to recognize kin. If they were friendly to nestmates, then they were nice to kin. Hence, that ancestral ant would be nice to a nestmate whether it was kin or not.

So maybe they could have carried such naivety with them from olden days? You wouldn't expect that because in a colony with several queens/families, selection would so favor any new mutation in ants that lets them recognize kin. But possibly, there could be some limiting factor to ants ability to evolve such a trait.

That's just my thinking so far and I expect it to change in the near future

Edit:

I'll check out Wilson's lecture when I find the time
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Old 06-05-2021, 02:19 PM   #60 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Guybrush View Post
You may be missing something. The gene view / kin selection / inclusive fitness theory predicts normal one family/ monogamous queen ant colonies just fine because the ants are related and have the haplodiploid sex system.

However, the problem is the super colonies for aforementioned reasons. The ants are cooperating with ants to whom they are not (very) related, which seems like it would not evolve and also would be unstable.

Reiterating quickly a couple of things:
  • Altruism - as in a gene sacrificing it's fitness for the sake of other genes - is a losing strategy. The gene by definition doesn't take care of itself in a competitive way. Natural selection weeds such genes out.
  • But if you somehow get a group of altruists, then it is generally very good to be a selfish individual in that group (take from all, give nothing vack). Hence, selfish genes and strategies would be expected to invade a group of altruists

Wilson, as far as I can tell, says that groups of altruists outcompete groups of selfish individuals. But AFAIK his group selection idea doesn't explain how pressure on groups also turn into pressure on the individual. For example, queens and their genes compete against many other queens with their own genes. It's easy to imagine some of the selection pressure that would come from that. Queens and their genes make and shape colonies. Their everyday conflicts would shape those genes. While altruistic groups may be competitive, I still can't quite see what pressure there is on these genes to evolve 'nicely' on behalf of a largely unrelated group. What's the mechanism?

I currently don't feel like group selection is the answer, but I'll admit it's a conundrum. I suspect it's a varied explanation that has a lot to do with ant ecology coupled with possible constraints / limits. Like I wrote, if ants CAN'T tell which ants are kin and which are not (just nestmates from non-nestmates), then something as simple as that should be expected to turn them altruistic. The reason is their ancestral trait is that ALL of an anthill used to be kin. There was no other way, hence they didn't have to recognize kin. If they were friendly to nestmates, then they were nice to kin. Hence, that ancestral ant would be nice to a nestmate whether it was kin or not.

So maybe they could have carried such naivety with them from olden days? You wouldn't expect that because in a colony with several queens/families, selection would so favor any new mutation in ants that lets them recognize kin. But possibly, there could be some limiting factor to ants ability to evolve such a trait.

That's just my thinking so far and I expect it to change in the near future

Edit:

I'll check out Wilson's lecture when I find the time
it seems like the concept of a superorganism is not necessarily the same as a super colony. Not sure if I'm misunderstanding you but it sounds like you are conflating the two. A colony can be a super organism without needing multiple queens etc. If the ants are born into specific castes and more specifically are born without any way to reproduce other than through the queen, that sort of set up seems like one where increased coordination and cooperation between individuals is directly linked to fitness.

As for the super colonies, I can't speak generally but say the one in the bbc documentary that was farming aphids on the spruce trees, Attenborough does mention how the cooperation there is serving a practical benefit with regard to being granted access to the resources that can be marshalled by that big of a colony.
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Real question though: I know tropical and sidereal astrology are based on different coordinates. That obviously influences the alignments and associated readings, but are they approached differently and have you noticed if one leads to more consistent (some might say rigid) self-analysis than the other?
https://johnwilkesboothblog.wordpress.com/
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