May 5, 2009 | 3
Ants are notoriously efficient in their undertaking, carrying off their dead nestmates before the corpses can infect the colony with their pathogens. But how do the worker ants responsible for shuttling their deceased comrades' bodies out of the nest tell live ants from dead?
Some researchers had hypothesized that ants were able to detect breakdown products in decomposing bodies, but a new study in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA contends that the mechanism is just the opposite: While alive, ants produce chemicals that signal their vitality, signals that quickly vanish on death. In other words, deceased ants are identified by the absence of signs of life—a sort of chemical pulse falling silent—rather than the presence of signs of death.
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Conventional washing machines cause excessive damage and wrinkling to clothes primarily during the water removal step. With the introduc
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