Ants Bury Their Dead In The Northeast Corner Of Their Anthill

I read that ants will always bury their dead at the NorthEast corner of their anthills. This odd ritual is made even stranger when the anthill is “turned”… If you have one of those ant farms (the ants inside a plastic container) where they have buried a dead ant and you turn the farm in a different direction, they will dig up the dead ants and rebury them at the new NE corner.

This fascinated me. Morbid, yes, but this is one of those mysteries that scientists have not solved. So I want to brainstorm and come up with some theories.

One thing I read was that ants don’t have very large brains because the brain uses too much energy and they always work as a group. (Don’t take the movie “A Bug’s Life” as truth!) There are never any rogue ants. So, in theory, the more brain functions you use, the less likely you are to follow the crowd. I could insert a political or religious statement here, but I won’t.

Ants rely on chemical communication.

I will start with the biggest influence. If the earth’s magnetic field is what affects the ants, that’s where I will start. The earth spins in the eastern direction. A chemical trail should always go from east to west, then. Yes, factors like wind may affect this. By burying their dead in the corner “upwind”, if a predator comes along and finds the rotting corpses and decides to eat them, the ants inside the hill will instantly be aware of the chemicals released by the consumption. Maybe the sound waves also trail off better in an eastern direction as well. Once the ants notice the corpse chemicals, they can react before the predator surprises them. Isn’t it strange that the ants wouldn’t eat the rotting corpse themselves? That further proves my theory. Instead of this being an “honoring the dead” ceremony, this is akin to a security system.

I am open to research grants to study this anomaly, if any government agency wishes to assist!

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