Ant farmers boost plant nutrition

Humans began cultivating crops about 12,000 years ago. Ants have been at it rather longer. Leafcutter ants, the best-known insect farmers, belong to a lineage of insects that have been running fungus farms based on chopped-up ...

After the age of dinosaurs came the age of ant farmers

A group of South American ants has farmed fungi since shortly after the dinosaurs died out, according to an international research team including Smithsonian scientists. The genes of the ant farmers and their fungal crops ...

What can we learn from the farming insects?

Farming evolved independently in humans at least nine times. The practice was among the innovations that enabled complex civilizations to develop. But we weren't the first species to raise our own food: various leafcutter ...

Researchers document the work of leafcutter ants

Deploying multiple videos in a University of Oregon lab, scientists have documented never-before-seen views of leafcutter ants at work processing leaves and growing their food supply in their nests.

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