Miracle in the Ant
The living beings that have the densest population in the world are the ants. For every seven hundred million ants that come into this world there are only 40 new-born human beings. There is a lot of other amazing information to learn about these creatures.
The ants, one of the most "social" groups among the insect genus, live as societies called "colonies", which are extremely well "organized." Their organization is of such an advanced order that it may be said that in this respect they have a civilization similar to that of humans.
The ants care for their babies, protect their colonies and fight as they produce and store their food. There are even colonies that do "tailoring", that deal in "agriculture" or "animal husbandry". These animals, with their very strong communication network, are so superior as not to be compared to any other organism, with respect to social organization and specialization.
In our day, researchers with superior intelligence and education are working day and night in think tanks formed to formulate successful social organizations and to find lasting solutions to social and economic problems. Ideologues have been producing social models for centuries. Yet when we look at the world in general, no ideal socio-economic social order has so far been reached, in spite of all these intensive efforts. Since the concept of order in human societies has always been based on competition and individual interests, a perfect social order has never been possible. The ants on the other hand, have perpetuated the social system that is ideal for them for millions of years right down to the present day.
Then how can these minute creatures form such an order? This is a question for which an answer must certainly be sought.
Evolutionists, when trying to answer this question, claim that ants evolved 80 million years ago from "Tiphiidae", which is an archaic genus of wasps, and that they started socializing 40 million years ago – suddenly, "at their own discretion" - and that they constitute the highest level of the evolution of insects. However, they do not in any way explain the causes and the process of development of this socialization. The basic mechanism of evolution requires living beings to fight with each other to the end, for their survival. Therefore, each genus and every individual within that genus can think of only itself and its own offspring (Why and how it started thinking of its offspring is another dead end for Evolution, but we are skipping this point for now). It is, of course, unanswered how this type of a "law of evolution" can form a social system with sacrifice right at its core.
The questions to be answered are not limited to these. Could these creatures whose nerve cells for one million of them only weigh 20 grams, have adopted the resolution to socialize in groups "just like that"? Or could they have got together to set the rules for this socializing after adopting such a resolution? Even if we accept that they could, would all of them obey this new system without exception? Have they formed an advanced social order by founding colonies with millions of members after overcoming all these seeming impossibilities?
Then how did a "caste system" emerge out of this struggle? First, this question has to be answered: How has the difference between the queen and the worker developed? Evolutionists at this point will say that a group among the workers abandoned working and developed a physiology different from the worker ants by going through genetic variations over a long period of time. However, we are then faced with the question of how the said "would be queens" were nourished throughout this transformation period. The queen ants do not look for food. They are fed with food brought by the workers. Some workers may have seen themselves as "queens", so how and why have other workers accepted this hierarchy? Furthermore, why have they consented to feed this queen? The "struggle for life" that they are in, according to "evolution", requires that they only think of themselves.
All insects spend most of their time in looking for food. They find and they eat food, then they get hungry again and go off to find more food. They also run from danger. When we accept evolution, we also have to accept that the ants too lived "individually" once upon a time, but that one day, millions of years ago, they decided to become socialized. The question then arises as to how they "decided" "to form" this social order without any common communication between themselves, because, according to evolution, communication is a consequence of socializing. Furthermore, the question of how they have developed the genetic mutation required for this socialization has no scientific explanation whatsoever.
All these arguments take us to a single point: To claim that the ants started "socializing" one day millions of years ago is to break all the basic rules of logic. The only possible explanation is as follows: The social order, of which we shall see the details in the following chapters, was created along with the ants; and this system has not varied since the first ant colony on earth, until today.
When mentioning the bees who have a social order similar to that of the ants, Allah states in the Qur'an that this social order has been "revealed" to them:
And your Lord revealed to the bee: "Build dwellings in the mountains and the trees and also in the structures which men erect. Then eat from every kind of fruit and travel the paths of your Lord, which have been made easy for you to follow." From inside them comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a sign in that for people who reflect. (Surat an-Nahl: 68-69)
The verse conveys the message that everything the honey bees do is governed by a "revelation" Allah has given to them. Accordingly, all the "homes", that is, hives - and therefore the entire social order in these hives - and all the work they perform to make honey, are made possible by an inspiration Allah has given them.
When we look at ants, we see that things are no different for them either. Allah has inspired in them a social order also and they abide by it absolutely. This is the reason why each group of ant performs the duty assigned to it perfectly with absolute self-surrender and does not strive for more.
And this is the law of nature. There is no random and coincidental "fight for survival" in nature as purported by evolution and there has never been one. On the contrary, all living creatures eat the "food" specified for them and perform duties Allah assigned to them. Because "there is no living being He (Allah) does not hold by the forelock and inspect." (Surah Hud: 56) and "He (Allah) is the one who gives food." (Surat adh-Dhariyat: 58)
We mentioned that ants live in colonies and that a perfect division of labour exists amongst them. When we take a closer look at their systems, we shall also see that they have a pretty interesting social structure. It will also come to our attention that they are capable of sacrifice at a much higher level than humans are. One of the most interesting points is that – compared to humans – they do not know the concepts such as the rich-poor discrimination and the fight for power that are observed in our societies.
Many scientists, who for years have been doing extensive research on ants, have not been able to clarify the subject of their advanced social behaviour. Caryle P. Haskins, Ph.D., the president of the Carnegie Institute at Washington has this to say:
After 60 years of observation and study, I still marvel at how sophisticated the ants' social behavior is. …The ants thus make a beautiful model for our use in studying the roots of animal behavior.
Some colonies of ants are so extensive with respect to population and living area, that it is impossible to explain how they can form a perfect order over such a vast area. Therefore, it is not easy not to concur with Dr. Haskins.
As an example of these large colonies we can give the species of ant, called Formica Yessensis, that lives on the Ishikari coast of Hokkaido. This ant colony lives in 45,000 interconnected nests over an area of 2.7 square kilometres. The colony, which is composed of approximately 1,080,000 queens and 306,000,000 workers has been named the "Super colony" by the researchers.2 It has been discovered that all production tools and food are exchanged in an orderly fashion within the colony.
It is very hard to explain how the ants have maintained this order without any problems, considering the vast area they are living in. We must not forget that various security forces are needed for enforcing law and maintaining social order, even in a civilized country with a low population density. And there is an administrative staff leading and managing these units. Sometimes, it does not become possible to maintain the required order without problems despite all these intense efforts.
Yet in ant colonies there is no need felt for police, gendarmerie or guards. If we consider that actually the duty of the queens, whom we think of as the leaders of the colonies, is just to maintain the species, they do not have a leader or a governor. There is thus no hierarchy based on a chain of command amongst them. Then who is it that lays down this order and maintains its continuity?
In the later chapters of the book we shall find answers to this question and similar others in combination.
Each ant colony without exception complies strictly with the caste system. This caste system consists of three major parts within a colony.
Members of the first caste are the queen and the males who make reproduction possible. More than one queen may exist in a colony. The queen has assumed the task of reproducing and thus increasing the number of individuals making up the colony. Her body is larger than that of the other ants. The duty of the males on the other hand is just to fertilize the queen. In fact, nearly all of these die after the nuptial flight.
The members of the second caste are the soldiers. These take on duties like the setting up of the colony, finding a new living environment and hunting.
The third caste consists of worker ants. All of the workers are sterile females. They take care of the mother ant and her babies; they clean and feed them. In addition to all these, other jobs in the colony are also under the responsibility of the workers. They build new corridors and new galleries for their nests; they search for food and continually clean up the nest.
The worker and soldier ants also have sub-groups. These are named slaves, thieves, nurses, guards and foragers. Each group has a different task. While one group focuses completely on fighting the enemy or hunting, another group builds nests, and yet another one looks after maintenance.
Every individual in the ant colonies does his full share of the work. None of them worry about the position it is in nor the nature of the job it performs, but it plainly does what is required of it. What is important is the continuity of the colony.
When we think about how this system could have developed, we cannot avoid reaching the fact of creation.
Let us explain why: Where there is perfect order, logically we reach the conclusion that this has certainly been established by a planning mind. For instance, there is a disciplined order in the military; it is obvious that the officers in control of the army have established this order. It would certainly be an absurd idea to assume that all individuals in the army came together on their own and organized themselves and that later on they were grouped in different ranks and started acting in compliance with these ranks. Furthermore, the officers who have established this order have to keep on carrying out inspections of this order so that it may persist without any problems. Otherwise, an army left solely to the troops would soon be transformed into an unruly crowd, regardless of how well disciplined it might have been at the beginning.
The ants also have a discipline very similar to that of the military. Yet the critical aspect is that there is no "officer", that is any organizing administrator, in sight. The various caste systems within the ant colony carry out their duties in a faultless manner; although, yet there is no obvious "central power" which supervises them.
Then the only explanation is that the central will in question is an "invisible" one. The inspiration which is mentioned in the Qur'an with the statement "And your Lord revealed to the bee" (Surat Nahl: 68), is this invisible power.
This will has achieved such tremendous planning that people are in awe of it when they try to analyze it. Such awe and wonderment have been expressed from time to time in various forms by the researchers as well. Evolutionists, who claim that such a perfect system has developed as a result of coincidences, are not able to explain this sacrificial behaviour which is at the core of this system. An article written on this subject in the Journal of Bilim ve Teknik indicates this incapability once more:
The problem is why living beings help each other. According to Darwin's Theory, each living creature fights for his own survival and reproduces. Since helping others would relatively decrease the probability of survival of that living being, this behaviour had to be eliminated by evolution in the long run. Yet it has been observed that living beings may be ready to sacrifice.
A classical form of explaining the fact of sacrifice is that the colonies which are made up of individuals who are ready to sacrifice for the benefit of the group or the genus shall be more successful during evolution than those which are made up of egotistical individuals. However, the point, which is not explained in this theory, is how the societies which can sacrifice may maintain this characteristic. A single egotistical individual who may come up in such a society should be able to transfer its selfish characteristics to the later generations, since he is not going to sacrifice himself. Another vague point is that if evolution happens at the level of societies, what should the dimension of this society be? Should it be the family, species, genus or class? Even if there is an evolution simultaneously at more than one level, what will be the result when interests are in conflict?
As we can see, it is not possible to explain the sense of sacrifice in living beings and the social systems based on this sense with the theory of evolution, that is, by assuming that living creatures have come into being by chance.
Can The Ants Be Doormen?
When we analyze the details of the system in the ant colonies, we feel the power of the invisible will, which establishes and governs this system, in a more concrete way. Now let us take a look at these details.
The connections to the outer world of the ant nests are usually via a small hole large enough for an ant to go through. Passing through these holes is by "permission". There are ants within the colony whose numbers are not very many with the duty of "serving as a doorman".
"The doormen" serve as living gates with the shapes of their heads fitting right in the nest entrance. Furthermore, the colour and design of their heads are the same as that of the tree barks in the close surrounding. The doorman sits for hours at the entrance hole and allows free passage only its nestmates.
This means that the idea of keeping a doorman to guard the buildings has been put into practice, before men, by doorman ants, who cover the entrance with the strongest part of their bodies, who also camouflage themselves and who do not let in those who do not say the right "password".
It is quite obvious that that the head of the doorman ant that we mentioned above fits right into the hole, that its colour and patterns conform to the environment, and that it does not let in anybody that it does not know, cannot be up to its own will. There certainly is an owner of intellect who has designed the body of the ant in this form and who inspires the job it is doing. To say that the ant can figure out these duties on its own and serves as a doorman without running out of patience and without giving up, would certainly not be a sensible explanation.
Let us think: Why would an ant want to be a doorman? If it had a choice, why would it pick the job, which is the most cumbersome and that requires the most sacrifice? If it did have such a chance, it would certainly pick a job that would provide it with the most comfortable environment and the best service. The choice, in fact, has come about with the determination of Allah. And the doorman ant performs its duties in full obedience. Only the creator of the ants may have designed such a perfect colony life to show the striking side of His art and given particular duties to the ant colony which abides by this system.
According to the theory of evolution, however, the ants should be developing in every respect and they should be trying to get into a caste where they could live a lot more comfortably. However, the doorman ants make no effort in this direction and they perform their inspired jobs faultlessly throughout their entire lives.
The organization, specialization in certain fields, and communications in the ant world is almost as successful as among human beings. This is true to such an extent that human beings are patterning their systems today on the harmonious system of the ants. The excerpt below illustrates this point:
Computer experts today are trying to reproduce in laboratories the collective behaviour forms of ants in robots. Instead of very advanced programmes, they are focusing on robots that cooperate devising between themselves on the basis of "simple" information elements. In these studies, the basic principle is the same. Instead of forming a highly advanced robot, the intention is to develop a herd of robots that are less "intelligent" but which will undertake the most "complex" tasks, just as the ants do in the ant colony… These robots will not be very advanced from the point of "intelligence" when taken one by one, but they will achieve the division of labour by collective action motivation. This will be possible because they will have the capacity to exchange the simplest information with each other. The life and cooperation in the ant colony has also influenced NASA… The organization is planning to send many "ant robots" for research on the planet Mars instead of a single advanced robot. Thus, even if some of them are destroyed, the surviving members of the team will be able to complete their tasks.
Let us now take a look at an interesting example from the world of "expert ants".
How Does LIvIng In A Group Affect Ants?
The most obvious example of cooperation among ants is in the behaviour of a worker ant species called Lasius emarginatus. The individuals of this species have interesting affiliations with each other. The activities of four worker ants belonging to the group that works with earth go on when they are separated from the big group. However, when there is a substance, like glass or stone in between which prevents them from seeing each other, their rate of work slows down.
Another example is that when the fire ants are separated from their groups by a thin barrier, they try to reach the other members of their colony by piercing this obstruction.
Many variations occur also in the behaviour of ants when the number of individuals in the group changes. When the number of ants in the nest increases, it is observed that the activity of each one of the individuals also proportionally increases. When the worker ants come together as a group, they get together, calm down and spend less energy. It has been determined that as the population increases in some ant species, there is a drop in the amount of oxygen spent.
What all these examples show us is that ants cannot survive on their own. These small creatures have been created with characteristics that allow them to live only in groups or even colonies. And this proves to us how out of touch with reality are the claims by the evolutionists with regard to the socializing process of ants. It is impossible for the ants to have been living alone when they were first created and to have socialized later on to form colonies. It would have been impossible for an ant facing such an environment to have survived. It would have had to reproduce, to build a nest for itself and its larvae, to feed both itself and its family, be a doorman, be a soldier and also a worker who took care of the larvae… We cannot claim that all these jobs requiring an extensive division of labour could have been performed once upon a time by a single ant or even a few ants. Furthermore, it is impossible to think that they worked hard towards socialization while performing these mundane tasks.
What is deduced from all this is the following: Ants are creatures who have been living under a social system and in groups since the day they were first created. This in turn is proof that ants have come into existence in one single moment with all their characteristics intact and, if we wish to phrase it better, that they have been "created".
A Model Headquarters
Let us expand a little the example of an army that we gave previously. Just think that you arrived at an army headquarters that is enormously large, but in which there is complete order. It looks as if you cannot go inside, because the security guards at the gates do not let in anybody they do not know. The building is protected with a security system that is strictly supervised.
Let us just assume that you found a way of getting in. Various systematic and dynamic activities will catch your attention inside, for thousands of soldiers are performing their duties in a strictly orderly fashion. When you search for the secret of this order, you notice that the building has been designed in a form entirely suitable for the inhabitants to work in. There are special departments for each job and these departments are designed so that the soldiers can work in the easiest manner. For instance, the building has floors underground, but the department which requires the sun's energy is located where it may get sunlight at the widest possible angle. And the departments which have to be in constant touch with each other are constructed very close to each other so that access would be facilitated. The warehouses where the surplus materials are stored are designed as a separate department in one side of the building. The warehouses where such requirements are kept are comfortable, accessible locations and there is a wide space right at the centre of the building where everybody may gather.
The features of the headquarters are not limited to these. The building is heated uniformly in spite of its vastness. The temperature stays constant all day long thanks to an extremely advanced central heating system. Another reason for this is the building's extremely effective external insulation against all weather conditions.
If the question of how and by whom this type of headquarters was designed was asked, everybody would say that it is by superior technology and by a professional team work. Such a headquarters building can only be built by people who have a certain level of education, culture, intellect and logic.
However, this headquarters building is actually an ant's nest. (please see p. 27)
To accumulate the required information to build such type of a headquarters building would take quite a long part of human life. However, an ant coming out of the egg knows its duty at that moment and starts work without losing any time. This shows that ants possess this information before they are born. All this information has been inspired in the ants at the time of their creation by Allah, the Almighty Who created them.
Self OrganIzatIon In Ants
There is no leader, planning, or programming in the world of ants. And the most important point is that there is no chain of command as we mentioned before. The most complex duties in this society are carried out without skipping a beat due to an immensely advanced self-organization. Consider the following example:
When food shortages occur in the colony, the worker ants are immediately transformed into "feeder" ants and they start feeding others with the food particles in their reserve stomachs, and when there is surplus food in the colony, they shed this identity and again become worker ants
The sacrifice displayed here truly is at an advanced level. While human beings have not succeeded in fighting hunger in the world, the ants have found a practical solution to this problem: to share everything, including their food. Yes, this is a real example of sacrifice. Giving without hesitation everything it owns including its food to the next ant, so that it may survive, is just one of the examples of sacrifice in nature which the theory of evolution cannot manage to explain.
There is no overpopulation problem for ants. While today, the metropolises of man are becoming hard to live in due to migration, lack of infrastructure, misallocation of resources and unemployment, ants can manage their underground cities, with a population of 50 million in a fantastically orderly fashion, without the feeling that anything is lacking. Each ant immediately adapts to changes occurring in its environment. For such a thing to occur, the ants must have certainly been programmed physically and psychologically.
For the emergence of such extremely well organized systems, there has to be a "master will" to give them the inspiration to do their work and to give them orders. Otherwise, great chaos would ensue rather than order. And this master will pertains to Allah, Who owns everything, Who is Almighty, Who directs all living beings and orders them by inspiration.
The fact that ants perpetually strive without any consideration of benefit, is proof that they are acting on the inspiration of a certain "supervisor". The verse below fully confirms that Allah is the master and supervisor of everything and that every living creature acts on His inspiration:
I have put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There is no living being He does not hold by the forelock and inspect! My Lord is on a straight path. (Surah Hud: 56)
Communication In Society
The Qur'an supplies an interesting piece of information when talking about Prophet Sulayman's armies and mentions that there is an advanced "communications system" among the ants. The verse is as follows:
Then, when they reached the valley of the ants, an ant said,'Ants! Enter your dwellings so that Sulayman and his troops do not crush you unwittingly.' (Surat an-Naml: 18)
The scientific research made on ants in this century has shown that there is an incredible communications network among these creatures. In an article published in the National Geographic magazine, this point is explained:
Huge and tiny, an ant carries in her head multiple sensory organs to pick up chemical and visual signals vital to colonies that may contain a million or more workers, all of which are female. The brain contains half a million nerve cells; eyes are compound; antennae act as nose and fingertips. Projections below the mouth sense taste; hairs respond to touch.
Even if we do not notice it, the ants have quite a different method of communication in virtue of their sensitive sensing organs. They employ these sense organs at every moment of their lives, from finding their prey to following each other, from building their nests to fighting. They have a communication system which astonishes us, as human beings with intellect, with their 500,000 nerve cells squeezed into their bodies of 2 or 3 millimetres. What we should keep in mind here is that the half a million nerve cells and the complex communication system mentioned above belongs to an ant which in bulk is almost one millionth of a human being.
In research done on social creatures like ants, bees and termites, who live in colonies, the responses of these animals in the communication process are listed under several main categories: Alarm, recruitment, grooming, exchange of oral and anal liquid, group effect, recognition, caste determination…
The ants, who constitute an orderly social structure with these various responses, lead a life based on mutual news exchange and they have no difficulty in achieving this correspondence. We could say that ants, with their impressive communication system, are hundred percent successful on subjects that human beings sometimes cannot resolve nor agree upon by talking (e.g. meeting, sharing, cleaning, defence, etc.)
News Exchange Between Groups Of Ants
First, scout ants go to food source that has been newly discovered. Then they call other ants by a liquid they secrete in their glands called pheromone(*). When the crowd round the food gets bigger, this pheromone secretion issues the workers a limit again. If the piece of food is very small or far away, the scouts make an adjustment in the number of ants trying to get to the food by issuing signals. If a nice piece of food is found, the ants try harder to leave more traces thus more ants from the nest come to the aid of the foragers. Whatever happens, no problems arise in the consumption of the food and its transportation to the nest, because what we have here is perfect "team work".
Another example relates to the forager ants who migrate from one nest to another. These ants advance towards the old nest from the newly found nest by leaving a trace behind. Other workers examine the new nest and if they are convinced, they also start leaving their own pheromones (chemical traces) on top of the old trace. Therefore, the ants going between the two nests increase in number and these prepare the nest. During this work, the worker ants do not stay idle. They set up a certain organization and division of labour between themselves. The tasks assumed group-wide by the ants who detect the new nest are as follows:
1. Acting as gatherers in the new area.
2. Coming to the new area and keeping watch.
3. Following the guards to receive the meeting instruction.
4. Making a detailed survey of the area.
Of course, we cannot take it for granted without pondering at all that this perfect action plan has been in practice by the ants since day one of their existence, because the division of labour required by such a plan may not have been applied by individuals who thought only of their own lives and interests. Then the following question comes to mind: "Who has been inspiring this plan in the ants for millions of years and who ensures its application?" Naturally, great intellect and power are needed for the incredibly superior group communication required by this action plan. The truth of the matter is obvious. Allah, the Creator of all living beings and possessor of infinite wisdom, shows us the way to being able to comprehend His power by displaying to us this systematic world of the ants.
All of the communication categories listed above may be grouped under the heading of: "Chemical Signals". These chemical signals play the most important role in the organization of ant colonies. Semiochemicals is the general name given to the chemicals the ants utilize for the purpose of establishing communication. Basically, there are two kinds of semiochemicals: Their names are pheromones and allomones.
Allomone is a material used for inter-genus communication. Yet pheromone, as explained before, is a chemical signal which is mostly used within a genus and, when secreted by an ant, can be perceived by another as a smell. This chemical is thought to be produced in the endocrine glands. When an ant secretes this fluid as a signal, the others get the message by way of smell or taste and respond. The research done on ant pheromones has revealed that all signals are secreted in accordance with the needs of the colony. Also, the concentration of the pheromone secreted by the ants varies in terms of the urgency of the situation.
As one can see, an in-depth knowledge of chemistry is needed to manage the tasks performed by the ants. We human beings can resolve the chemicals the ants produce only by tests we perform in laboratories, plus we go through years of education to be able to do this. Yet ants can secrete these whenever they need to, and have been doing so since the day they were born, and they know quite well what response to give to which secretion.
The fact that they accurately identify the chemicals right from the time they are born shows the existence of an "Instructor" who gives them chemistry education at birth. To claim the opposite would mean that the ants have learned chemistry over time and that they have started making experiments: this would be in violation of logic. The ants know these chemicals without having had any education when they were born. We cannot say that another ant or another living creature is the "teacher" of the ant either. No insect, no living creature – including human beings – has the capacity to teach ants how to manufacture chemicals and establish communication by these substances. If there is an act of teaching before birth, the only will which would be able to achieve this act is that of Allah, Who is the Creator of all living things and "the Lord (Educator)" of the heavens and earth.
Many people do not even know the meaning of "pheromone" – something that ants secrete continuously in their daily lives. Yet, each new-born ant performs in a perfect social communication system because of these chemicals; a social communication system which leaves no room for doubting the existence of a Creator with infinite power…
There are basically a few endocrine glands where the complex chemical reactions we have talked about so far take place. Secretions produced in six endocrine glands provide this inter-ant chemical correspondence. However, these hormones do not display the same characteristics in each species of ant; each endocrine gland has a separate function in different species of ants. Now let us take a close look at these endocrine glands:
Dufour's Glands: The hormones produced in these glands are used in commands for alarm and meeting for attack.
The Venom Sack: An extensive formic acid production takes place in the venom sack. Also the venom which is produced to be used during attack and defence is formed here. The best example of this hormone is found in the fire ant. The venom of these ants may paralyse small animals and hurt human beings.
In a forest inhabited by ants who produce formic acid, researchers found formic acid at a level that could not be explained. All theories that were set forth were proven wrong and all research done produced no results. Eventually scientists concluded that formicine ants may be responsible for much of the formic acid found in previously unexplained quantities in the atmosphere above the Amazon forest and other habitats rich in these insects. It is estimated, very roughly, that formicine ants may release 1012 grams of formic acid globally each year. That is, these micro-creatures are able to produce formic acid on a scale that can even influence the atmosphere of the region they live in without any harm coming to themselves and this perplexes the researchers.
Pygidial Glands: Three different species of ants use the secretions produced by these glands as their alarm system. The large desert harvester ant transmits this hormone in the form of a strong smell and issues a panic alarm; and the Pheidole biconstricta, which is a species of ant living in south America, utilizes the secretion it produces in these glands in chemical defence and attack alarms.
Sternal Glands: The secretions here are used during colony migrations and tracking prey and in gathering the "soldiers" together. The most original function of this secretion is to lubricate the seventh abdominal area of the ant that it frequently has to rotate when spurting out venom. Thus, the turning of its body for spurting venom becomes easier. Without this gland, which is a microscopic lubricant production centre, the defence system of the ant would be inefficient.
Yet this is not so, because there is a faultless design in place: How a tiny ant would turn its body to spray venom has been established, just as it has been pre-determined where and how this lubricant needed for reducing strain while rotating this body shall be produced.
Metapleural Glands: It has been determined that the secretions from these glands are antiseptics, which protect the body surface and the nest from micro organisms. One active antibiotic component of Attas, for example, is phenylacetic acid, of which an ant carries an average of 1.4 micrograms at any given moment. The worker ant regularly releases small amounts of this mixture that serve as an antiseptic. When she is attached by enemy ants, she suddenly discharges large quantities of the metapleural gland secretions, which now function as a powerful repellent.11
Let us not forget that an ant does not know how to protect itself from microbes and does not even know of the existence of the microbes. Yet, its body produces the drug against its enemies without its knowing. The fact that there is always an antiseptic hormone in the body of the ant in an amount of 1.4 micrograms is a detail which has been worked out with great precision. Because He Who created the ant is the One Who caters for all the needs of all the living beings He created in the greatest detail, and who is indeed "Gracious".
As demonstrated, all endocrine glands mentioned in this chapter are units that have vital functions for the ants. A lack of or the insufficient functioning of any of these has adverse influences on all of the social and physical life of the ant. In fact, it makes it impossible for it to stay alive.
This demolishes absolutely the claims of the theory of evolution, because evolution claims that living beings have developed in stages and that starting from a primitive form, they have become more advanced gradually as a result of a series of beneficial coincidences. This would mean that the ants during the previous stages did not have part of the physiological characteristics they have today and that they acquired these later on. However, all the secretions of the ants we discussed above are vital and without them it is impossible for an ant species to survive.
Gracious is Allah to His servants: He gives sustenance to whom He pleases: and He is the Most Strong, the Almighty.(Surat ash-Shura: 19)
The conclusion from all this is that the ants were created at the outset with these endocrine glands and vital functions. That is, they did not wait for the development of the necessary endocrine glands for hundreds of thousands of years in order to have a defence and communications system. Had that been so, it would have been impossible for the ant genus to have survived. The only explanation is that the first ant species which existed on earth did so in the same complete and perfect form as it is in today. A perfect system cannot be other than the artwork of an intelligent designer. If we are able today to talk about an ant society with a population of billions, then we must admit that a single Creator has created these all at once.
The IdentIty Card Of Ants: Colony Odor
We had mentioned previously that the ants can recognize each other and distinguish their relatives and friends from the same colony. Zoologists are still investigating how the ants can recognize their relatives. While man cannot distinguish between the few ants he may come across, let us see now how these creatures who are so completely alike can recognize each other.
An ant can easily detect if another ant is a nestmate or not. A worker ant casually sweeps her antennae over the other's body to recognize it, in case it enters the nest. It can immediately distinguish nestmates from strangers by virtue of the special colony odor it carries. If the ant who enters the nest is a stranger, the hosts attack this uninvited guest with extreme violence, locking their mandibles on body and appendages while stinging or spraying with formic acid, citronellal, or some other toxic substance. If the guest is a member of the same species but from a different colony, they can understand that too. In this case the guest ant is accepted in the nest. However, the guest ant is offered less food until it acquires the colony odor.
How Is The Colony Odor ObtaIned?
The source of the odor by which kin are recognized has not been identified with certainty. However, as far as it has been discovered, ants use hydrocarbons for the odor distinguishing process among themselves.
The experiments performed have shown that ants who belong to the same species, but to different colonies, identify each other by hydrocarbon differences. An interesting experiment was carried out to understand this. First, the workers in one colony were washed with solvents containing extracts of workers from alien colonies of the same species. It was observed that other workers from the focal colony reacted aggressively to them, whereas the responding workers reacted in a neutral or at most a mildly agressive manner to workers washed with extracts of their nestmates.
Has The Colony Odor Evolved?
A very significant point which has to be carefully considered with regard to the colony odor is the matter of evolution. How do the evolution mechanisms explain the fact that ants, or members of other insect colonies (bees, termites etc.) can recognize their friends by their exclusive pheromones?
People who try to defend the theory of evolution in spite of all kinds of impossibilities claim that pheromones are the result of natural selection (The preservation of beneficial changes occurring in living beings and elimination of harmful ones). Yet, this is out of the question for any insect species including ants. A most striking example on this point is the honey bee. When a honey bee stings its enemy, it produces a pheromone for notifying the other bees that there is danger. However, it dies right after this. In this case, this means that this pheromone is produced only once. Then, it is impossible for such a "beneficial change" to be transferred to the following generations and become propagated by natural selection. This explanation indicates that it is impossible for the chemical communications between insect species that have the caste system to have evolved by the method of natural selection. This characteristic of the insects, which rebuts the theory of natural selection completely, demonstrates once more that the One who establishes the communications network among them is the One "who creates them for the first time."
Call Of The Ants
Ants have a level of self-sacrifice which is very advanced and, due to this characteristic, they always invite their friends to each source of food they find and they share their food with them.
In such situations, the ant that discovers the food source directs the others to it. The following method is used for this: The first forager ant that finds the food source fills its crop and returns home. As it returns, it drags its tummy on the ground at short intervals and leaves a chemical signal. Yet its invitation does not end there. It tours around the ant hill for a short while. It does this between three to sixteen times. This motion ensures contact with its nestmates. When the forager wishes to return to the food source, all its mates that it has met wish to follow it. Yet only the friend which is in the closest antenna contact may accompany it outside. When the scout reaches the food, it returns immediately to the hill and assumes the part of the host. The scout and its other worker friend are joined to each other via continuous sensory signals and the pheromone hormone on the surfaces of their bodies.
Ants may reach their target by following the trail that goes to the food, even when there is no inviting ant. Because of the trail that successful foragers leave from the food to the nest, when the forager comes to the nest and does the "rock dance", its nestmates reach the food source without any help from the inviter.
Another interesting side to ants is their production of many chemical compounds to be used in the process of invitation, each one with a different task. It is not known why so many different chemicals are used to be gathered around the food source but, as far as one can tell, the diversity of such substances make sure that trails are different from each other. Apart from these, ants transmit different signals when sending messages, and the intensity of each signal is different from the others. They increase the intensity of the signal when the colony gets hungry, or when new nest areas are needed.
This solidarity among ant societies at such a high level may be regarded as behaviour that is worth considering and that can be taken as an example for men. Compared to human beings who unhesitatingly violate the rights of other individuals on account of their own interests – which are all they think about - the tremendously self-sacrificing ants are much more ethical.
It is in no way possible to explain the totally unselfish behaviour of ants, in terms of the theory of evolution. This is because evolution assumes that the only rule existing in nature is the fight for survival and the accompanying conflict. Yet, the behavioural characteristics that ants and many other types of animals display disprove this and show the reality of sacrifice. The theory of evolution, in fact, is nothing other than an attempt by those who wish to legalize their own selfishness to ascribe this selfishness to the whole of nature.
The Role Of Touch In ChemIcal CommunIcatIons
The communications by ants by touching each other with their antennae in maintaining intra-colony organization proves that there is in use an "antennal language" in its fullest sense.
The antenna signals created by touching in ants are used for various purposes like commencement of dinner, invitations and social meetings where nestmates get to know each other. For instance, in one type of worker ant species living in Africa, workers first touch by the antennae when they meet each other. Here, "antenna shaking" means just a salute and an invitation to the nest.
This invitation behaviour is even more striking in certain ant species (Hypoponera). When a pair of workers meet face to face, the inviting ant tilts its head sideways 90 degrees and strikes the upper and lower surfaces of the nestmate's head with its antennae. Often the solicited ant responds with similar antennation.
When the ants touch the bodies of their nestmates, the goal is not to give them information but to receive information by detecting the chemicals they secrete. One ant beats the nestmate's body very lightly and rapidly with its antennae. When it gets close to its nestmate, its goal here is to bring the chemical signals as close as possible to the other. As a result, it will be able to detect and follow the odor trail its friend has just laid and reach the food source.
The most striking example that may be set forth for tactile communication is the exchange of liquid food from the crop of one ant to the alimentary tract of another. In an interesting test made on this subject, various parts of the bodies of worker ants of the Myrmica and Formica species were stimulated by human hair and were thus successfully induced to regugitate. The most susceptible ant was the one that had just finished a meal and was looking for a nestmate with whom to share its crop content. Researchers noted that certain insects and parasites were aware of such tactics and they were having themselves fed by practising this method. What the insect had to do to attract the ant's attention was just to touch the ant's body slightly with its antenna and its front leg. Then the touched ant would share its meal, even if the creature in contact with it is of a different type.
The ability of an ant to understand what the other one wants by a short antenna contact shows that the ants may, in a sense, "speak" among themselves. How this "antennal language" used among ants is learned by all ants is another subject to think about. Are they undergoing training on this subject? To talk about the existence of such training, we must also talk about the existence of a superior Almighty Who provides it. Since it cannot be the ants who can provide such a training, this Almighty is Allah Who, by way of inspiration, teaches all ants a language with which to communicate.
The sharing behaviour practised among ants is a specimen of self-sacrifice that cannot be explained by the theory of evolution. Some evolutionists who see the adage "Big fish swallow small fish" as the key to life on earth are forced to withdraw such words when confronted with such self-sacrifice as is displayed by ants. In an ant colony, instead of the "big ant" developing by eating the "small ant", it rather attempts to feed the "small ant" and make it grow. All ants are ready to accept the food - that is, the "provision" - given to them and definitely make sure to share the excess with other members of the colony.
As a result, what all these examples show us is that the ants are a society of living beings who have submitted to the will of the Creator and who act under His inspiration. Therefore, it would not be right to regard them as organisms which are totally unconscious, because they do have a consciousness which reflects the will of their Creator. Indeed, Allah draws attention in the Qur'an to this interesting fact and notifies us that all living things are, in fact, a community among themselves, that is, they live under a Divine order and in accordance with inspiration.
There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but forms communities like you. We have not omitted anything from the Book, and they will be gathered to their Lord. (Surat al-An'am: 38)
Accoustical communication is another method used frequently by ants. Two forms of sound production have been identified, body rapping against the substratum and stridulation, that is, rubbing of specialized body parts together to produce a "chirp".
The sound signal produced by body rapping occurs most commonly in colonies that occupy wooden nests. For instance, carpenter ants communicate by "drumming". They start "drumming" in the face of any danger approaching their nests. This danger may be a sound that causes disturbance or a touch that they feel or a suddenly developing air current. The drummer ant strikes the substrate with its mandibles and gaster while rocking its body back and forth. This way, signals easily may be carried through the thin wooden shells of the nest for several decimeters or more.17 The European carpenter ants send vibrations to their nestmates who are 20 cm or even farther away by tapping with their chins and bellies on the woodwork of rooms and corridors. It must be taken into account here that 20 cm for an ant is a distance that would correspond to 60-70 metres for a human being.
Ants are almost deaf to vibrations transmitted through air. However, they are very sensitive to sound vibrations transmitted through objects. This is a very efficient warning signal for them. When they hear it they quicken their pace, they move towards the place where the vibration comes from and they attack all moving living beings that they see around.
No disobedience to this call by any of the members of the colony is an indication of successful organization of the ant society. One must admit that even a small human society responding to an alarm call collectively, at the same time, without any exception, and without anarchy developing, is a very difficult thing in practice. Yet ants are able to do what they are ordered without losing any time and so they are able to lead their lives without interrupting the discipline within the colony even for a moment.
The production of chirps is more complex as a system than drumming. The sound produced is created by rubbing certain parts of the body together. Ants produce this sound by rubbing together the organs at the rear of their bodies. If you get your ear close to the worker harvester ants, you may hear them produce a high pitched voice all the time.
Three major functions of stridulation have been discovered in various species. These may be listed as follows:
1. Acoustical communication in leaf cutter ants serves as an underground alarm system. It is usually employed when a part of the colony is buried by a cave-in of the nest. Workers start moving to perform rescue excavations in response to received sound signals.
2. High pitched voices are used in some species during mating by queens. When young queens gather on the ground or vegetation for mating, and have obtained enough sperm, they produce high pitched sounds to escape from the swarms of males chasing them.
3. Yet in other species, sound is used to enhance the effectiveness of pheromones produced during the gathering of nestmates to find food or new nest sites.
Sometimes in certain species, the food searchers make it possible for other ants to surround the prey with signals they produce when they find a prey. Gathering together of the workers and getting to the prey is realized within 1-2 minutes on account of this high pitched voice. These features are a great advantage for the ant species.
For An Eye That Sees…
With their various communication methods, ants may be compared to men who can speak several foreign languages. They are able to communicate with 3-4 different languages among themselves and they are able to pursue their lives in the least problematic manner. They are able to subsist their colonies with populations of hundreds of thousands or sometimes millions, and survive all their lives without causing any confusion.
Yet this communication system we have been describing so far is just one of the miraculous features of the animal world. When we analyse both people and also all other living beings (From single-celled to multi-celled) we can discover characteristics that are different from each other, with each being a separate and individual miracle with its place in an ecological order.
For an eye that can notice all these miracles that are created around it, and a heart that can feel, it will be sufficient to look at the extraordinary communication system of the ant of millimetric dimensions to appreciate the infinite power, knowledge and wisdom of Allah Who is the sole Owner and Sovereign of all living things. In the Qur'an, Allah refers to these people who do not have this capability and who may not appreciate His might:
Have they not travelled about the earth and do they not have hearts to understand with or ears to hear with? It is not their eyes which are blind but the hearts in their breasts which are blind. (Surat al-Hajj:46)