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Ants trapped for years in old Soviet nuclear bunker became cannibals


Scientist

Ants trapped for years in old Soviet nuclear bunker became cannibals

Life 21 November 2019 By Leo Benedictus Two European red wood antsPATRICK PLEUL/DPA/AFP via Getty ImagesWe have a solution to the mystery of how thousands of ants survived without food in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Poland. The answer is simple. When they were hungry, they ate each other. Ants are remarkable animals –…

Ants trapped for years in old Soviet nuclear bunker became cannibals


Life



21 November 2019

By Leo Benedictus

red wood ants

Two European red wood ants

PATRICK PLEUL/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

We have a solution to the mystery of how thousands of ants survived without food in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Poland. The answer is simple. When they were hungry, they ate each other.

Ants are remarkable animals – some of them care for their wounded comrades, while others have learned the basics of farming. But even so, Polish biologists were astonished when, in 2013, they found a large colony of red wood ants (Formica polyctena) in an old Soviet bunker in western Poland. The ants had apparently …

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