Monday, June 6, 2011
The Ant Point of View by Drew Bell
The Anthill Chronicles section of the book is unusual in that it is written from the point of view of the ants. Wilson has done this to accomplish several tasks, and I would like to take the next several posts examining those different reasons.
When we study animal behavior, one of the things we must do is try to put ourselves in the mind of the creature we are studying. If the animal we are studying is one of the higher vertebrates, for example a wolf, this may be easier because it shares more in common with our own mentality and means of perceiving the environment. However, if the animal we are studying is very different from us, for example an ant, its psychology and sensory perceptions will be alien to us. This can be a challenge for the researcher, as we may have difficulty understanding the motivations that drive the animal.
How did you feel about seeing things from the ant perspective? Did you find the point of view alien? Has your understanding of the motivations of the ant changed? What similarities and differences are there compared to humans?