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Scientists estimate there are 20 QUADRILLION ants on Earth

Scientists estimate there are 20 QUADRILLION ants on Earth – and say the tiny insects outweigh all the wild mammals and birds

  • Researchers analyzed 489 previous studies of ants spanning all continents
  • Their findings suggest that there are 20,000,000,000,000,000 ants worldwide
  • Together, these ants have a biomass of 12 megatons of dry carbon
  • It exceeds the combined biomass of wild birds and mammals and is equivalent to about 20 percent of the human biomass

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Whether it’s how many stars are in the night sky or how many grains of sand are in the Sahara, there are certain questions that seem impossible to answer.

Now scientists have come incredibly close to finding a solution to such a question – how many ants are there on Earth?

Scientists from the Julius Maximilians University in Wurzberg claim that there are as many as 20 quadrillion ants crawling on our planet.

In comparison, there are currently about 7.8 billion people on Earth, which means there are about 2.5 million ants per person. person!

Sabine Nooten, lead author of the study, said: ‘According to our estimate, the global ant population is 20 x 1015 – that is, 20 quadrillion animals.

‘It’s a 20 with 15 zeros, which is hard to understand and appreciate.’

Scientists from the Julius Maximilians University in Wurzberg claim that there are as many as 20 quadrillion ants crawling on Earth

Scientists from the Julius Maximilians University in Wurzberg claim that there are as many as 20 quadrillion ants crawling on Earth

Their findings suggest that there are 20 quadrillion ants on Earth, with a combined biomass of 12 megatons of dry carbon

Their findings suggest that there are 20 quadrillion ants on Earth, with a combined biomass of 12 megatons of dry carbon

Their findings suggest that there are 20 quadrillion ants on Earth, with a combined biomass of 12 megatons of dry carbon

Where are all the ants?

With the exception of the poles, ants live in almost every habitat on Earth, but until now little was known about their distribution.

The survey results suggest that the tropics have the highest ant density.

And in addition to the climate zone, according to the researchers, local ecosystems also play an important role in the distribution of insects.

Forests and dry areas are home to the most specimens, while areas with more people have fewer ants, the study found.

In the study, the team set out to estimate the total number of ants across the planet.

“Knowledge of the distribution and abundance of organisms is fundamental to understanding their roles within ecosystems and their ecological importance to other taxa,” the researchers wrote in their study, published in PNAS.

“Such knowledge is currently lacking for insects, which have long been regarded as the “little things that rule the world”.

“Even for ubiquitous insects, such as ants, which are of enormous ecological importance, there is currently neither a reliable estimate of their total numbers on Earth nor their abundance in particular biomes or habitats.”

To reach their estimate, the team evaluated 489 previous studies of ants spanning all continents, major biomes and habitats.

Their findings suggest that there are 20 quadrillion ants on Earth, with a combined biomass of 12 megatons of dry carbon.

“It exceeds the combined biomass of wild birds and mammals and is equivalent to about 20 percent of human biomass,” said study co-author Patrick Schultheiss.

With the exception of the poles, ants live in almost every habitat on Earth, but until now little was known about their distribution.

With the exception of the poles, ants live in almost every habitat on Earth, but until now little was known about their distribution

With the exception of the poles, ants live in almost every habitat on Earth, but until now little was known about their distribution

With the exception of the poles, ants live in almost every habitat on Earth, but until now little was known about their distribution

The survey results suggest that the tropics have the highest ant density.

And in addition to the climate zone, according to the researchers, local ecosystems also play an important role in the distribution of insects.

Forests and dry areas are home to the most specimens, while areas with more people have fewer ants, the study found.

The researchers hope that their findings will encourage further research into the number and distribution of ants around the world.

“Per hectare, ants move up to 13 tons of soil mass per year,” Schultheiss said.

‘So they have a big impact on maintaining the nutrient cycle and also play a crucial role in the distribution of plant seeds.’

HOW DO ANTS USE MATH TO BUILD ‘LIVING BRIDGES’?

Several species of ants build ‘living bridges’ made of their own bodies to cross small gaps.

Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology showed in 2015 that up to 20 percent of a colony can be locked into bridges on a route at any given time.

This is when an individual ant can run a ‘bridge algorithm’.

An ant can tell how many times it has been stamped by previous ants and use this to judge the width of the bridge.

When this reaches a certain number, an ant – judging that too many members of the colony can now occupy bridges – may rejoin the march.

1663684343 310 Scientists estimate there are 20 QUADRILLION ants on Earth

1663684343 310 Scientists estimate there are 20 QUADRILLION ants on Earth

Several species of ants build “living bridges” made of their bodies to cross small gaps