Robert writes eclectic and informative articles about a variety of historical subjects including unusual events and people.
Is it possible that ants are intelligent? The idea may seem preposterous to some—after all, how can something so small, with the brain the size of a pin head be smart? The very thought of bugs and insects being intelligent seems like an insult to us humans. After all, aren't we the dominant species; the only species that builds cities, uses tools, farms, and demonstrates the capacity to plan and think?
But if we look closer, we can see that ants exhibit many of the characteristics and behaviours that we associate with intelligence and civilization. In fact, if ants did not exist on Earth but we encountered them on, for example, Mars, I am sure that we would wonder if we had encountered an intelligent alien race that builds cities, farms, raises animals, and organizes itself into a complex society complete with social ranks such as nobles, soldiers, workers and slaves. I am sure that we would conclude that these aliens were in fact intelligent. So why do we ignore the signs of intelligence of ants on our own world? Do we have an intelligent alien species literally here under our feet?
So let's explore the alien world of ants right here on Earth and see whether they are intelligent or not.
Ants Build Cities
I know what you are thinking, ant hills aren't cities. They're, well, ant hills. But did you know that large ant hills contain complex ventilation systems that remove carbon dioxide and bring in fresh air, or that they have the equivalent of hundreds of miles of sewers that drain the ant waste into special chambers were the waste is recycled? Did you know that ant cities have an incredibly complex transportation system including highways? Or that each ant city can hold millions of ants.
Sounds incredible, and for the most part it is difficult to imagine the engineering marvel which is an ant city because most of it is underground. In fact, if we were the size of an ant, most of an ant city would be the equivalent of three miles underground.
The video to the right shows what scientists discovered when they filled an ant city with cement and then dug the resulting cast out of the ground. They were able to see for the first time what an ant city looks like and explore the complex series of chambers, roads and ventilation shafts that allows millions of ants to live underground. The video is amazing and is well worth watching from beginning to end.
Ants Farm and Cultivate Mushrooms
Ants are the only animal besides humans that farms food. All other creatures hunt or harvest their food where they find it and are dependent on the whims of nature, and climate for their survival. For example, wolves are smart, and they will exhibit cooperation and skill in hunting for food. But wolves do not capture deer and breed them. Deer will forage for grasses and other food, but of course they have no thought of sowing grass seeds to ensure a plentiful supply of foraging crops. In fact, not one animal besides man and ants has ever thought to keep their prey in captivity or to farm plants in order to feed themselves in the future. Even intelligent animals like wolves lack the foresight to plan beyond meeting their immediate needs.
Ants, like humans, farm plants and raise cattle. Sounds preposterous. It's true.
There are species of ants that collect leaves and take them to specially constructed chambers within their colonies where they grow fungus on the decomposing leaves. The fungus is then eaten by the ants.
The growing of the fungus requires a great deal of planning and forethought: an appropriate chamber must be constructed, the right leaves must be collected, waste must be removed so as not to choke the growing fungus beds, and the leaves must be seeded with the fungus spores. The spores do no grow naturally in throughout the ant colony; the ants must collect the spores and bring them to the leaves.
Fungus farming is an example of intelligence and creativity. Other animals and insects would recognize the food value of fungus growing on leaves if they came across it in the wild. But no other animal or insect, besides humans, would understand that by contaminating a new leaf with the fungus spore, it will result in more food later. This shows intelligence, understanding and the ability to think ahead.
The fact that ants farm is an achievement that sets them apart from the rest of the animal and insect kingdoms. What is even more amazing is that ants have been doing this for millions of years. Humans did not learn to farm until around 5 or 6,000 years ago. Prior to that, humans behaved as hunter gatherers just like the rest of the animal kingdom.
Read More From Dengarden
Ants Farm Other Insects
But ants don't just farm, they raise and keep other insects for food, just like humans raise cattle. Many species of ants will domesticate aphids and act like shepherds by taking the aphids to feed on plants, while protecting them from other insect predators. The ants will then "milk" the aphids by squeezing their abdomens and causing some digested plant juice to be released into the mouths of the ants which will then share this nutritious fluid with the rest of the colony.
The ants behaviour in keeping ants closely parallels that of human shepherds and cattle breeders: ants will take the aphids to different pastures, they will guard them against predators, and they will harvest them.
The ants' behaviour in this regard is markedly different from that of other animals or insects. Even though wolves display intelligence similar to that of dogs, they lack the foresight to control their instincts and avoid killing their prey in order to get more food in the long run. If a wolf gets his teeth on a rabbit, or a deer, it will kill it and eat it on the spot. No wolf would ever capture the animal, tend to its needs, protect it from other predators and then take food from it without killing it (for example milking a cow) in order to reuse this food resource.
The only animals that do this are humans and ants. And once again ants beat us to it: they have been farming aphids for millions of years. Humans discovered animal husbandry about 6,000 years ago.
Ants Wage War
Ants are the only animal besides humans which wage war in organized batallions, against other organized opponents. Like humans, ants wage war to capture territory and food resources from other ant colonies. Sometimes ant wars lead to the total defeat of an opponent and the survivors are captured and held as slaves.
Of course, war in itself may not be a great example of intelligence. But the organization, planning and coordination required to wage war is the product of intelligence.
In contrast to the war waging behaviour of many ant colonies, some ant species settle their difference in single combat between champions chosen by each colony. Bert Holldobler, in an article entitled Tournaments and Slavery in a Desert Ant, noted that a species of desert ant conducts tournaments "in which hundreds of ants perform highly stereotyped display fights". The losing ant colony is then enslaved.
Ants Capture Slaves
Ant wars will often result in the defeated survivors being kept as slaves by the victorious ant colony. They are incorporated into the new colony and made to work for the victors.
We must not equate ant slavery with the human experience. Obviously human slavery is morally reprehensible and wrong from a political, moral and economic perspective. Still, the taking of prisoners and using them as slaves is a behaviour that is both complex and unique to ants and humans.
When other animals defeat a foe, they either kill it or allow it to retreat. For example, if two male mountain goats fight over a female, they will ram their horns against each other until one either dies or retreats. If the loser retreats, the winner will win right to mate with the female goat. No animal would then make the loser his slave.
Ants, on the other hand, have figured out that defeated enemies can be useful. They can be spared and put to work for the good of the colony.
The ants' behaviour in capturing and enslaving other ants shows an understanding of 1) deferred benefit (it is better to use the slave ants for future work than to eat them now) and 2) organization (slave ants must be supervised and put to work on assigned tasks).
Ants Teach and Communicate
A recent study has demonstrated that ants can pass on knowledge from one ant to another and teach other ants how to find food.
Ants have been observed to use a teaching technique called "tandem running" in which an ant that knows where to find food, will lead a new ant to the spot. The teacher ant will slow his pace to allow the student ant; if the student ant falls behind.
The teacher ant's behaviour does not provide a benefit to the teacher. If the teacher were not leading the student ant, it could locate and collect the food about four times faster. But by taking time to lead a novice ant to a food source, it allows other ants to locate the food faster than they would have discovered it on their own. As a result, the entire ant nest benefits.
Scientists believe that this ant behaviour represents "the first time a demonstration of formal teaching has been recognised in any non-human animal". Once again, humans and ants have something in common.
Ants Cooperate and Exhibit Teamwork
Ants are tiny, but they can cooperate to an amazing degree. Their cooperation exhibits purpose, planning, and command and control. Below are some amazing videos of ants moving large objects, and other ants cutting down a tree.
Their behaviour parallels that of humans. Imagine an ancient workforce of Egyptian labourers building the pyramids by moving giant limestone blocks, and you will have a good comparison to the amazing ants.
Ants are the most successful species on earth. They have survived and thrived for millions of years; they have conquered and colonized every continent and environment except Antarctica. Ants can be found in burning deserts, in jungles, and in cities. Ants exhibit many behaviours consistent with intelligence and civilization: they build cities, farm, communicate, and accomplish tasks through collective, highly organized goal-driven behaviour. If ants were apes, or some other hominid, we would doubtlessly recognize them as intelligent.
When it comes to ants, however, most people overlook these hallmarks of intelligence and attribute these behaviours to blind instinct. They are just bugs, after all. They are creepy, crawly things. And they have tiny brains. Could they possibly be intelligent?
Smart Ants Build Bridges
When ants encounter a ravine or body of water that they need to cross, they do the same thing that humans do: they build a bridge.
In the video below you can see a group of "engineer" ants constructing a bridge to help their fellow ants cross over. They do this with their own bodies, which some might argue is not the same thing as building a rope bridge or similar feat of human engineering. However we have to keep in mind that ants do not have hands and opposable thumbs; they cannot use tools. However they are amazingly versatile at solving problems. Their ant bridges are simple yet effective solutions constructed with the only tools and resources they have. The fact that they are able to figure out how to cross over displays an ability to problem solve, team work and organization. These are higher level intellectual functions usually associated with humans and some primates. Despite the fact that dogs are intelligent, you would never see a pack of them building a bridge by holding on to each others' tails.
Ants Are Tiny Farmers
Ants don't just grow mushrooms and fungi within the depths of their underground realms, they shape and cultivate above ground vegetation by selecting plants that they favor and destroying plants that compete with the ones they want to grow, in the same way that a human gardener would plant seeds and then take out any weeds that compete with their plants.
This leads to a phenomena known as the Devil's Garden or the Devil's clearing which are patches within the South American forest, where only a few trees of a certain type grow. Everything else - all other forms of trees, shrubs and even grass does not grow there. The reason? Millions of ants continuously destroy any plant which competes with a certain hollow stemmed tree. The ants favor the hollow tree because it gives them shelter and allows them to travel within its branches protected from bird predators.
Some might say that this is simply an example of blind evolution, that ants have simply been programmed genetically to kill any tree or plant except the hollow tree. They would argue that over millions of years, natural selection favored these ants who live in hollow trees and take care of their trees. The ants have no knowledge or why or what they do.
This argument presupposes that ants cannot think and therefore their actions, even though they achieve a defined and complex purpose, are simply the result of inborn instinct, of mindless chemical reactions. But what if we abandon our prejudice against the very concept of an intelligent insect and focus instead on the activity? How is it any different in essence from the actions of a human farmer who plants wheat in his field (a clearing so to speak) and who then spends time, energy and money on killing off all competing plants and weeds in order to ensure a good harvest. If we look at it that way, must we not concede that they are doing what we do?
If we came across a species of ape that did this, we would have no difficulty in accepting that their pre-human intelligence had allowed them to figure out the basics of agriculture. But when we see the same behavior and skill in an ant, we recoil at the idea that these tiny creatures—whether individually or as a form of collective hive mind - may have not only intelligence, but the indications of a civilization.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Do ants have alarm calls to sound a retreat to their colony ?
Answer: Ants have different castes. When a colony is attacked the warrior ants will attack. I have never known them to retreat. If the ant hill is destroyed, worker ants will attempt to save the ant larva and take them away to a safe location.
Question: Do ants understand the concept of danger?
Answer: It is hard to know what ants feel subjectively. However, they definitely can assess danger and react to it. For example, if you try to catch one it will try to evade you. If you disturb an anthill the warrior ants will attack you to try to drive you away. So clearly they react to dangerous situations.
© 2008 Robert P
Antboy on August 10, 2020:
I accidently cut an in half , when i was gardening, because it was biting me. A follow ant then appeared and dragged his live torse away from me an towards their hive.
Dreamcloud on July 08, 2020:
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on March 16, 2019:
Hello, Roberts, this is something that beats the imagination. Nowonder, the Creator instructed the lazy to go and learn a lesson fromthe ants,and youhavemade that lesson very simple for the world to know.
This article is very informative and educational. I like it to the core. Ants are not only intelligent but are strong beings. I always watch some ants carrying a single coackroach away. That you for sharingthis wonderful masterpiece.
Robert P (author) from Canada on January 25, 2019:
They don't necessarily retreat as much as attack any intruders. This seems to be coordinated in some way, such as chemical scent emissions.
Robert P (author) from Canada on January 21, 2019:
Individual ants may not be very smart but collectively, an ant colony is very smart when you look at their ability to vuild cities, plant crops, raise other insects for food. These are skills which we associate with a level of civilization among humans. Early humans such as Neanderthals, which we know were intelligent, were not yet capable of doing any of these things.
¿ on January 14, 2019:
How smart are ants
nady shamy on December 19, 2018:
I wonder if ants have an alarm call to let all ants to retreat to their nest ?
Heidi Paul on August 10, 2017:
What made me think abt ant intelligence was those ants that seem to understand when a colony ant is infected by an alien invader and rushes to excommunicate the one with the ability to infect the whole colony. Could this be learned behavior? Thinking too that learned behavior would imply intelligence.
SarhManasseh Felee on July 02, 2017:
This information read about the ants intelligence is so amazing to me. It similarly teaches me lot of lessons that can be applicable to my personal life meanly dealing with someone consider as an enemy.
Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on February 03, 2017:
Ants may be intelligent, but I don't think they're nice. I wrote an article about how ants maintain their way of living, and it seems like everything is sacrificed for the community, individualism isn't allowed. Maybe they are like us in terms of intelligence, but they don't seem to have a heart. At any rate, this is a brilliant, informative article.
Robert P (author) from Canada on August 27, 2016:
You make really good points. My impression is that even if ants are part of a larger collective consciousness, they are more comparable to the human inhabitants of a city than the cells of a human body. For the hive mind or consciousness theory to be valid, ants would have had to evolve communication and neural networks completely different than any other species, because no other group of animals or insects appears to have a collective consciousness. In fact, all other social insects and animals (including humans) lack this collective consciousness.
To me, a better analogy is the way in which human residents of a city interact. They are each individuals but each also a part of a greater whole. Their collective actions, communications, etc gives rise to what could be described as a super organism. If we watch time lapse images of traffic on streets we see that the streets resemble arterial blood vessels moving supplies in and about the city. There are many other analogies between the functions and aspects of a city which parallel those of a human body. There is even a controlling mind in the form of a town council or some other governing body, made up not only of individual human "cells" who sit on the counsel but all the other "cells" which carry out functions needed to support the existence and direction of the city, from the garbage collector (scavengers?), police force (warrior caste), etc.
Depending on the perspective or biases of an observer unfamiliar with human affairs, a hypothetical alien, for example, one might conclude that there is only one organism, the city and that the individual humans who make up its population are merely multicellular parts of an organism.
Perhaps neither perspective is entirely wrong. Perhaps we humans create a super organism through our collective interactions, in the same way that ants do. But it does not negate the possibility that ants in and of themselves have an individual intelligence.
I agree with you that we tend to measure other animals by a human yardstick and tend not to try to bridge the communication gap. This is changing a bit when it comes to cats and dogs. Most pet owners have come to understand some of their pet's language, such as cat's yawning or blinking slowly to say that they love you. But when dealing with an organism as radically different from us, such as ants, it is difficult to see how we could bridge the communication gap. The first step would have to be to acknowledge that there is something there to communicate with, namely a sentient organism, whether that organism be the ant colony or the constituent ants. Most humans can only see ants as a nuisance, and fail to recognize the possibility of an intelligence despite signs of a "civilization" equal to for example some of the first cities of humankind in Mesopotamia - namely the existence of cities, of architecture, of farming, of animal husbandry, of social castes.
I have to say, however, that if the communication gap between humans and ants is ever bridged, it will be by human scientists. Even if an ant were to attempt to communicate with a random human, the human would at best ignore it and at worst squish it. Moreover, it is my impression that despite all of the ingenuity and skill that ants display, they are essentially a static society and there is no real progress or innovation. They have had farming and animal husbandry for millions of years but for whatever reason have never progressed beyond that. They are, most likely, a non-inquisitive species and to the extent that ants may contemplate humans at all it is to assess their threat level and to scout them as sources of crumbs and other food. Ants carry out their functions in a way that is flexible to the situation (avoiding obstacles, etc) but they show no discernable interest in anything beyond their own world.
sab on August 05, 2016:
We humans are made up of many cells. As only one in eleven of these is actually human anyway physically we are more like walking coral reefs than individuals. These multiple physical units have a shared conciousness which can manipulate the whole, which we call 'our body', on a very rough large scale level. This we think of as a body and mind.
The tendency to seek the quality of intelligence based on similar structures is anthropomorphism that is not really a rule of nature.
There are strong indications that intelligence can be found in structures which do not follow this model. For example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slime_mold and perhaps siphonophores which may use light in the same way brains use electricity.
Ants may be multi-cellular parts which individually only have limited intelligence, similar to our white blood cells only knowing enough to attack hostile organisms, whilst at the same time being parts of the body of a colony which has it's own overall intelligence and sense of identity.
How much does the overall behaviour of one of the species of Army Ant, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_ant, differ from that of a roving predatory mammal whose intelligence we acknowledge. Varied problems are encountered and overcome. Similar problems, such as crossing water, are dealt with in similar ways but that is only like swimming. We don't see technological development but haven't been looking for very long or at very much.
There is a great deal more to be discovered about inter-ant and inter colony communications, scent has been much studied, gestures a little. the coming area seems to be sound http://blog.wildaboutants.com/2010/01/28/ant-strid...
So far we have problems even observing passively in the relevant electromagnetic and vibrations frequencies used by ants so know precious little about what sort of mind a colony of ants may have or at what speed it may function. Has any one else noted that when we consider an animal to possess a significant intelligence it is measured against the human yardstick after passing human made tests such as mazes? Or when we acknowledge that it may communicate for reasons other than the most basic drives ( reproduction, territory, threat, food etc ) it is because the animal has been able to communicate with us, using human sounds symbols and gestures. In the experiments with apes, dolphins birds and so on it is the animals which have crossed the gap, rarely humans.
We have no idea yet and can't be truly empirical about anything until we know far more.
Robert P (author) from Canada on May 21, 2016:
Glad to come across another believer in the intelligence of ants! I would say, however that they may be more intelligent than chimps because ants cultivate food and build cities.
William D. on May 02, 2016:
Ive done some food experiments on ants from where i am livng now and ive seen extactly that they can simply plan out and eventually find the food i place down and as a matter a fact ive seen ant colonies and even ants talking to each other! after that i doubtlessly believed that ants could actually be the 5th smartest organisims on the planet and love that this article supports the whole thing and tact that ants are actually intellective besides humans/dolphins/chimpanzees so thank you very much whoever made this article
PEACE OUT OTHER ARTICLE LOVERS!
Hope we find other articles about this statement LOL
Robert P (author) from Canada on August 29, 2015:
I think your comments are based on an unwillingness to see the obvious because it would challenge our sense of being the only intelligent species on the planet, and we are clearly not. What does it matter if they go to school or not. There are many human tribes and cultures with no education, no written language, etc. Would you say that these humans are not intelligent.
Instead of focusing on the how they learn to do what they do, realize that these amazing ants build cities, cultivate crops, raise insect cattle, cooperate, have castes, etc. -- all the things that you would expect an intelligent species to accomplish.
moogal on August 23, 2015:
lol. Ants have zero intelligence. Do they all go 'ant school' to learn to be good ants? They do everything instictually. I guess if instinct = intelligence then bacteria are intelligent too. Hahaha
Robert P (author) from Canada on September 05, 2014:
Thank you for the really interesting observations. I really do believe that ants are extremely intelligent in their own way.
dan on August 24, 2014:
So, first of all. Thanks for the sophisticated article! In the garden of a Hungarian countryside, with a hundreds of different species growing,I can tell you mysterious things about the behavior patterns of ants. For a few years on, I understood and read some of that. They recently have made huge damage in some part, even in and around the house, so I started to take care of them. Cause I am a green friendly person, respecting all the lives on planet earth, I thought, it unnecessary to kill them, and dirt my Karma, so I started to use salt.For a while, it was very successful. But the game just begun than. Somehow they figured out the danger of the salt, and just walked around it. I tried other methods than, with the same result. and another. They attacked a few of my fruit trees, and after I recognized when I was on a hangover, and lay down into grass, I saw them walking up to the top of a grass, and look around, and walk back down, and go to see the next one. Like a scanner. So I started to count, and found out how many I can count in a square foot and multiplied that with the size of the area, I suddenly realized the fact: I am living with millions of ants together. Scary. So ended up buying poison for ants, after many reading and tries, which was working. For a while...Somehow they are like an artificial intelligence project, or a bloody football/soccer team, and don't fall to the same trap - the different individuals, I meant, think about it, like totally different teams, at a totally different playground - trey have a capability to learn collectively, and store that in each of them minds. Human can't do that, only in simple things, after massive losses, I think. So ten thousands of them climbed the tree daily, and managed something which i had no idea about, probably they fed themselves. and suddenly co located the brand under the tree, into the tree root system. Than I poisoned the exits from the ground, and than thousand of them killed and fallen. Dead ants all around. Than in a few days, when I thought, the actual rip off colony died or disappeared, I checked the trees again, and they made roads under the surface of the tree. I think its a bit long here, explaining my experiences, so I cut this short now, after I read many about their behavior and about how they can interpret losses, and fixing their collective behavior for success. My basic message of non scientific comment is somehow the communication works only to living with ants without losses, and after 3 yrs we are alright, they're off from house, and stop eating my veggies in garden. But I learned the fact, they can use other animals to improve produce goods, and they must use algorithms when building underground cities and tubes, because their tubes can lead to target destination sharper than a GPS positioning, and they just not bothered by any other animals, and trey trace and find any piece of food in minutes, etc. Very sophisticated community. And they can heartlessly destroy anything, just anything, even concrete! Just unbelievable. As this article. Thanks again, with all response. Enjoy the rest of your summer. peace
dan on August 24, 2014:
checking the .......
Robert P (author) from Canada on April 13, 2014:
Very true. Unfortunately humans are even more blind to the possibility of non-human intelligence. Scientists are only nos starting to acknowledge that dolphins and elephants are intelligent.
Robert P (author) from Canada on April 13, 2014:
I don't think that ants are smarter than us. But that does not mean that they are not intelligent.
Plus I suspect that ants have a colony based collective intelligence. So while each individual ant may have fewer neurons than us, the total number of ants working together achieves an impressive neuron total.
Robert P (author) from Canada on April 13, 2014:
As the philosopher Spinoza once said: "I believe that, if a triangle could speak, it would say, in like manner, that God is eminently triangular, while a circle would say that the divine nature is eminently circular." If ants have a religion I am sure that their god is an all powerful ant.
Robert P (author) from Canada on April 13, 2014:
This is true. For ants, the only things they find relevant about us is 1) staying out of our way and 2) stealing our food
AuntAnnie575 on April 11, 2014:
It was not long ago white man thought natives peoples where animals with no intelligence. Who be the stupid ones?
anniesnow on April 11, 2014:
I wonder if there is an ant God?
jm on March 21, 2014:
I am still wondering how could they be smarter than a human as you know that an ant has a mere 260 neurons compared to a humans billions neurons with trillons of synapses
MarshND on February 23, 2014:
Ants may communicate, but they never try to communicate with us.
Robert P (author) from Canada on October 14, 2013:
I believe that ants are individually conscious but also part of a larger "hive" mentality. You can tell that they are capable of independent action by the way that they quickly adapt to their specific situation. For example, catch an ant and put it in a glass jar and it will immediately go to the lid, even if you invert the jar, because it seems to understand where the opening is. It does this even though it is completely cut off from the rest of the ant colony so it cannot be getting direction from them.
I think however that ants have a limited interest in non-colony affairs. I doubt that they speculate about humans except to the extent of how to avoid the big bad giants.
Stevos on September 15, 2013:
Wow. What a great article and discussion. Amazing. I found it from a Bing search from a question I entered: Do ants think? I just read every comment too. As has been discussed here, maybe the more descriptive question is: Do individual ants think? I've always been interested in the little critters. I have several colonies of different species of them on my grounds, from tiny black ants (maybe 1/16th of an inch long at most), to a small red ant colony, to a full size (1/2" maybe) black ant colony that is huge with four or five entrances to what I think is the same colony. I'm in the desert in the heat and the black ants mostly stay in during the day. At night, the black ant colony is out in force in the thousands, in about 1/4 of my yard. Only a few of those ants seem to stray more than 50 feet from the colony entrances. A very few of them do venture farther out exploring parts of the rest of my grounds.
I wonder: What are those individual ants doing that far away from the colony, and are they thinking? Out of thousands (tens of thousands?) of ants in a colony, wouldn't it make sense that some individuals are smarter than the rest? Maybe some individuals are genuinely curious as to "what's out there further from the colony?" Also, just like humans, (like me a bit) maybe a few individuals think that living in that crowded ant city is a bummer and they like the wide open spaces where they could live not being "bugged" by all those other ants, at least for part of the day. Out of millions of creatures in any species, logic is that there must be a few individuals who have the capacity, and the determination, to take individual actions, not just live with hard wired predetermination, even if the rest of them aren't so smart, or smart at all. Or am I wrong? I hope this discussion is still open and will welcome hearing everyone's ideas if so.