Literary experiment: An attine ant’s perspective on human farming

Sadeer-el-Showk-imageSedeer el-Showk [pictured here] does what might be called a literary experiment: describing human agriculture from the perspective of “attine ants, a group of ants which have evolved a mutualistic relationship with certain fungi that can only be described as a form of agriculture”:

In addition to the difficulties of communication, other biological limitations of humans may serve to explain some of the shortcomings of their agricultural practices. For example, while we can provide important liquid supplements to our fungi, individual humans appear unable to directly produce the nutrients needed by their crops, which are instead provided by the activity of specialized castes working in structures dedicated to this task. Studies have demonstrated that the fragrant anal paste produce by humans is a suitable substrate for plant growth; surprisingly, however, humans do not take advantage of this resource. Some researchers have suggested that humans may be unable to properly ensure the hygiene of crops grown in this manner and would thus be exposed to an unacceptable risk of parasitism, although others contend that the anal paste has in fact been used by some colonies. Clearly, further research is needed to understand this aspect of human agriculture….

In the same blog post, he also describes ant agriculture from the perspective of humans.