Ants build sinking Eiffel Towers when trying to escape  

17:19 • 12.07.17



If you want to see the Eiffel Tower, you don't have to go to Paris. Just look down at your feet —but watch your step.

Fire ants use their bodies to construct Eiffel Tower-looking structures when they run into a tall obstruction while looking for food or escaping to new areas. A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that they build these structures without a leader or coordinated effort. Each ant wanders around aimlessly, adhering to a certain set of rules, until it unknowingly participates in the construction of a tower several inches tall, Phys.org reports.

"If you watched ants for 30 seconds, you could have no idea that something miraculous would be created in 20 minutes," said David Hu, a Georgia Tech mechanical engineering professor who co-led the study. "With no planning, and using trial-and-error, they create a bell-shaped structure that helps them survive."


The tower study is a follow-up to the group's 2014 ant raft research, which examined how the insects link their bodies in order to build waterproof structures that stay afloat for months. The ants march along until they come to an open space—the edge of the raft—then settle in to become a building block of the raft.


They do the same thing for the towers, searching for an empty spot like a car in a crowded parking lot. Once an individual ant finds one, typically at the top of the tower, she stops and braces for more ants to climb on top and go vertical.


But vertical is a relative term. The ants don't position themselves straight up and down like a skyscraper. Instead, the tower gets wider as it grows taller, gradually becoming the same shape as Paris' iconic landmark. The weight of the tower is supported by a wider cross-section at its base, which allows the ants to better distribute their weight.


"We found that ants can withstand 750 times their body weight without injury, but they seem to be most comfortable supporting three ants on their backs," said Craig Tovey, a co-author of the study and professor in Georgia Tech's Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering. "Any more than three and they'll simply give up, break their holds and walk away."

 





LATEST NEWSAll Today news

13:58 • 21/09

Putin, Erdogan to discuss Syria peace plan next week

13:49 • 21/09

Chelsea, Man City face FIFA investigation over youth signing

13:35 • 21/09

Zhoghovurd: Government lavishes funds on Armenia-Diaspora conference

13:21 • 21/09

Justin Trudeau sports Chewbacca socks for meeting with IMF chief Christine Lagarde 

13:08 • 21/09

Brussels to offer help border regions

12:53 • 21/09

Game of Thrones' star to open up 'closed shop' film industry

12:41 • 21/09

The $147bn team photo: Warren Buffett takes to the stage with fellow billionaires and Diddy for Forbes' 100th birthday party

12:24 • 21/09

Putin congratulates Armenian president on independence anniversary

12:15 • 21/09

Apple concedes new smartwatch has connectivity glitch  

12:07 • 21/09

Turkey hosts NATO naval drills amid tensions

11:45 • 21/09

Artsakh war heroes remembered on independence anniversary

11:20 • 21/09

Iraqi Kurdistan referendum poses challenge for Turkey – Financial Times

10:44 • 21/09

September 21 carries invaluable message for Armenians - opinions

09:38 • 21/09

Flourishing and prosperous country is the dream of all Armenians – Bako Sahakyan

09:24 • 21/09

Mexico quake: Race to find survivors under collapsed school  

18:01 • 20/09

Azerbaijan imparting religious context to Karabakh conflict - official  

17:15 • 20/09

Barcelona condemn Spanish crackdown on Catalan independence vote

16:55 • 20/09

Serzh Sargsyan affirmed Armenia's position on Karabakh from UN podium – politician

16:13 • 20/09

US State Department tightens visa rules

16:05 • 20/09

‘Architects of Denial’ screening to open 2017 ANCA-WR grassroots conference

15:51 • 20/09

Porsche officially launches $16m hybrid yacht (ohotos)

15:30 • 20/09

Armenian president’s UN speech strong message to back Nagorno-Karabakh’s self-determination - official  

14:18 • 20/09

US congressmen strengthen solidarity with Artsakh during working visit to Shushi and Stepanakert

13:05 • 20/09

Armenian official blasts Azerbaijan over stalemate in Karabakh peace talks

12:10 • 20/09

Serzh Sargsyan says Armenia will be 'consistent in promoting UN goals'

11:55 • 20/09

British woman, 47, gives birth to healthy baby seven years after menopause

11:35 • 20/09

Azerbaijan Laundromat: Merkel ally 'received cash from regime' – The Guardian  

11:22 • 20/09

Armenian American orphans Christmas telethon strives to be most successful one yet – LA Times Jeff Landa

10:50 • 20/09

Nalbandian to meet with OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in NYC

10:22 • 20/09

Nagorno-Karabakh president meets with US congress members in Yerevan

10:01 • 20/09

Erdogan reiterates call on Kurds to cancel independence referendum

09:53 • 20/09

Serzh Sargsyan meets with President of Poland in New York

09:35 • 20/09

Trump slams Maduro at UN, calling him Hitler

09:16 • 20/09

Right to self-determination vital element in Karabakh peace – Serzh Sargsyan

18:08 • 19/09

Armenia needs active Diaspora investments  -  economist  

17:01 • 19/09

Russian arms supplies to Abkhazia, Tskhinvali pose regional hazards - Georgian ambassador

16:43 • 19/09

Ardshinbank offers mortgages with lower interest rates

15:33 • 19/09

Armenian figure skaters to join Olympic Qualifier in Germany

14:54 • 19/09

Armenian delegates hamper passage of pro-Azerbaijani report by PACE committee

14:22 • 19/09

Only democratic Turkey can recognize Armenian Genocide – Garo Paylan

13:36 • 19/09

World’s first all-electric yacht unveiled (photos)

13:11 • 19/09

Hayk Kotanjian: The importance of engaging renowned Diaspora Armenians in the cause of the establishment of Cyber Resources Management System in the RA

12:46 • 19/09

Conjoined twins born to US parents who already have five children

12:16 • 19/09

Erdogan, Stoltenberg discuss S-400 deal with Russia, KRG referendum

12:01 • 19/09

Idea to build effectively developing modern state inspiring for all Armenians – Karen Karapetyan

11:24 • 19/09

US ‘shocked’ by Russian-Turkish missile system deal  – Armenian analyst

10:16 • 19/09

US Senate passes $700bn defense policy bill

09:52 • 19/09

Zhamanak: Georgia backs new Armenian ambassador's appointment

09:32 • 19/09

US withdraws proposed arms sale to Erdogan’s security detail

09:13 • 19/09

Hurricane Maria lashes Dominica

14:11 • 18/09

Nagorno-Karabakh’s exclusion from peace talks accounts for Azerbaijani aggression - Karen Mirzoyan

13:35 • 18/09

Emmys: Diversity reigns over Trump as ‘Big Little Lies,’ ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘SNL’ dominate

13:20 • 18/09

President: Just and developing country lays firm groundwork to preserve Armenian identity  

12:44 • 18/09

Rolling Stone magazine up for sale

12:18 • 18/09

Our key objective is to increase Armenia’s population to 4 million by 2040 – Serzh Sargsyan

11:24 • 18/09

Automated police station opens in Dubai (photos)

11:12 • 18/09

Armenia-Diaspora conference good platform to unite over common concerns - Manoyan

10:47 • 18/09

China, Russia launch naval drills in North Korea  

10:35 • 18/09

I am very happy to be in Armenia – Garo Paylan

10:14 • 18/09

Eight killed in powerful storm in Romania

09:57 • 18/09

Turkey summons German ambassador over pro-PKK rally in Cologne

09:40 • 18/09

Sixth Armenia-Diaspora conference opens in Yerevan

09:10 • 18/09

Man Utd 4-0 Everton: Martial and Mkhitaryan stats highlight contrast with last season

21:58 • 16/09

Public and private sector cooperation is vital for AI development in Armenia: PicsArt co-founder H. Avoyan

14:58 • 16/09

Former CNN employee received $2.6m through ‘Azerbaijani laundromat’

14:32 • 16/09

Millions of world’s children lack birth certificate

14:12 • 16/09

Francis Bacon painting hidden away for almost 50 years set to sell for a record price at auction

14:01 • 16/09

Rosatom plans to start building Turkish nuclear plant in early 2018

13:40 • 16/09

Chance of 'catastrophic' climate change completely wiping out humanity by 2100 is now 1-in-20

13:15 • 16/09

London terror threat level raised to critical, says PM

13:06 • 16/09

Jennifer Lawrence planning hiatus

12:55 • 16/09

Turkey, US urge Kurdish leader to cancel planned independence referendum

12:30 • 16/09

Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh host annual sporting festival

12:13 • 16/09

Full-size Titanic replica ‘half-complete’ (photos)

11:41 • 16/09

US Congress members planning 'unprecedented trip' to Armenia

10:44 • 16/09

North Korea seeks ‘equilibrium of force’ with US – Kim Jong-un

10:34 • 16/09

Lapshin urges Armenians to ‘stay strong,’ denies Azerbaijan’s suicide claims

10:09 • 16/09

US artist uses up to 20,000 screws to create impressive portraits

09:43 • 16/09

Queen Letizia of Spain celebrates 45th birthday

09:31 • 16/09

EU Council expands North Korea sanctions list after latest missile launch

09:12 • 16/09

IS claims responsibility for London attack

17:59 • 15/09

Ardshinbank general sponsor of unprecedented mega-show

17:53 • 15/09

South Korean artist captures beauty of falling in love in romantic pictures

17:27 • 15/09

Breast cancer breakthrough: Reducing belly fat could have life-saving effect

16:55 • 15/09

European court orders Armenia to pay €6,000 over failure to ensure effective investigation  

16:01 • 15/09

Home-made bomb caused explosion on London train

15:46 • 15/09

Ex CIA chief quits Harvard over Mannig

15:19 • 15/09

UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings over Arsenal-Cologne crowd chaos

15:12 • 15/09

Mercedes-Benz X-CLass ‘appalling’, says BMW (photos)

14:53 • 15/09

Hurricane Irma wipes out Barbuda island, US ambassador reveals (photos, video)

14:47 • 15/09

Turkey's purchase of Russian missile system may trigger sanctions, says US official  

14:40 • 15/09

Turkey feels betrayed over EU accession, says minister

14:20 • 15/09

Minister reports 35% economic growth in Armenia's IT sector  

13:40 • 15/09

Several injured in 'terrorist' incident on London underground train (updates, photos)  

13:18 • 15/09

He stands for champion of truth in Cause for Justice on Genocide – Turkish intellectuals remember Dink on birthday anniversary

11:58 • 15/09

Lady Gaga hospitalized with 'severe pain'

11:11 • 15/09

EU must change its view of Turkey - Chavushoglu

10:56 • 15/09

Angelina Jolie meets with UN Secretary General António Guterres in NYC

10:43 • 15/09

Armenia, EU close to signing new cooperation deal – European official

10:14 • 15/09

Haykakan Zhamanak: Three reported missing after illegally crossing Armenia-Turkey border