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Higher, Higher, Ants of Fire

After a flood, thousands of homeless fire ants pile on top of one another to build bizarro towers with their own bodies — probably as temporary shelters. All the complex construction project needs is for each individual ant to follow a few simple rules, new research says. And, if wriggling ant towers weren’t nightmarish enough, this discovery could help engineer robot swarms that are even better at cooperating.  Jeff and Anthony marvel at how this works, and imagine the robots it will spawn.

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Today’s story was sent in by Brian Towns: https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/12/15959386/fire-ants-tower-construction-rafts-tovey-collective-behavior-science

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