Scientists are deeply disapointed with ants following the results of a recent study. MSNBC
reports that contrary to what was once believed, not all ant larvae have the same potential to become queens. It turns out that some male ants' progeny have a genetic leg up on the competition.
"These ants have a 'royal' gene or genes, giving them an unfair advantage and enabling them to cheat many of their altruistic sisters out of their chance to become a queen themselves," said study team member Bill Hughes of the University of Leeds in the U.K.
While genetically superior male ants have always existed, colonies could detect their larvae and eliminate some of them, thus correcting the queen ant lottery. Hughes continued to ascribe an alarming number of human of characteristics to his ant friends, saying:
"So we think the males with these royal genes have evolved to somehow spread their offspring around more colonies and so escape detection. The rarity of the royal lines is actually an evolutionary strategy by the cheats to escape suppression by the altruistic masses that they exploit."
Wait, so the altruistic masses are actually exploiting the male ants who are cheaters? Science is so confusing.-Andy Wright