5-speed listening (Ants - Level 3)

Ants use the Sun to get from A to B



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Ants are some of the most impressive creatures on this planet. There are so many things we do not know about them. Scientists have just discovered an amazing new fact about these tiny insects. It is about the way ants navigate – the way they get from A to B without getting lost. An international group of scientists say ants can go in a straight line along a compass route, whatever direction they are facing. The BBC said it is the same as, "trying to find your way home while walking backwards or even spinning round and round". Scientists say ants do this by using the position of the Sun, their past memories, and what they can see around them. Professor Barbara Webb said ants get around like a self-driving car.

The scientists studied desert ants near Seville, Spain. They published their report in the journal 'Current Biology'. They said: "Ants can navigate over long distances between their nest and food sites using visual [clues]." They did this even when the scientists put obstacles in their way and when they had to drag food while walking backwards. Professor Webb said: "Ants have a…tiny brain, less than the size of a pinhead. Yet they can navigate successfully under many difficult conditions, including going backwards." She said we can learn many things from ants: "Understanding their behaviour gives us new insights into brain function and has inspired us to build robot systems that mimic their functions."

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