Neandertal of ant farmers grows modern food | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Neandertal of ant farmers grows modern food

Discovery provides new look at the co-evolution of symbiotic organisms

2:15pm, March 24, 2015
Farming ants with fungus

SURPRISING PARTNERS Ants with ancient farming techniques somehow manage to grow and feed on a surprisingly modern and picky fungus (white mass in the background).

A living relict of an ancient species of farmer ants has startled biologists by cultivating a fancy, modern food crop that didn’t arise until more than 30 million years after the ants themselves. The surprising discovery is providing a new look at how symbiotic species evolve.

“It’s like a lost tribe of Neandertals growing a GMO crop,” says Ted Schultz of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from the Science News Archives

From the Nature Index Paid Content