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Ants on Stilts

from Sploid

Scientists have found a whole new way to mess with insects.

A group of budding sadists at the University of Ulm took a bunch of ants and cut off their legs, and then took another bunch of ants and put them on stilts made out of pig hairs. The ostensible purpose of the experiment was to see if ants measure distance by counting their steps.

And indeed it seems they do. Ants with shortened legs tended to "think" they'd walked farther than they had, while ants on stilts consistently overshot their marks.

In addition to proving that ants have tiny pedometers implanted in what passes for their brains, the experiment also showed that scientists have some crazy ideas about what is fun and hip.

For example, Robert Johnson, an ecologist at Arizona State University, pronounced the experiment's results "cool."

"It's like riding your bike and [having someone] change the size of the wheels without telling you," he said, which would be true if people walked around on wheels of flesh that could be altered by enormous god-like scientists who thought it was "cool" to do that sort of thing.

Harald Wolf, the researcher who headed the study, said that nobody should feel bad about dismembering a bunch of silly old ants. He said the insects don't feel pain, "at least not in a sense even remotely comparable to what we mean by that term."

According to the New York Times, Wolf says the ants "don't seem to mind" being bothered by Germans with a fetish for circus equipment.


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