Our New Meat Ant Overlords...

In the 1930s, Australian ecologists shortsightedly introduced the Cane Toad, a species indigenous to South America, to their isolated continent to eat agricultural pests. This famously proved to be a complete disaster with the toxic toads running rampant and native species poisoning themselves when they tried to make snacks of the delicious, dimwitted amphibians.

Now a team of Australian researchers from the University of Sydney think they may have found an elegant solution that absolutely, positively, cannot backfire into a 1970 C minus horror movie: Meat Ants. The gentle meat ant lives underground, often in super colonies that stretch out for over 600 meters or 0.4 miles, and emerge during the day to skeletanize cow carcasses and anything else that doesn't get the hell out of their way.

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Sshhh... Sshhhh... I just want to get to know you...

In a series of experiments, the Aussies determined that Cane Toads could not flee as quickly from Meat Ants as most native species, were not as weary of Meat Ants in general, and hung out in places that Meat Ants frequented like creepy abandoned lakeside cabins where they meant to fornicate with other teen toads.

The paper, published in the most recent edition of Functional Ecology, goes onto suggest that billions of Meat Ants should be bred in unused tunnels, such as the old subway and sewer systems of Australia's largest cities. Eventually, the ants will of course decide to eat Cane Toads. No, but honestly, "Meat Ants"!!! No, but really honestly, one of the researchers explained that "the next step is to work out whether we can manipulate habitats - perhaps by using bait to bring toads and ants together more frequently - to increase the kill rate." Luckily for all, researchers have already determined that both Cane Toads and Meat Ants love eating kitten.

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Ok - Australia is secretly a vast evolution experiment to prove once and for all that not only are creationists wrong, but to also take over the rest of the world at the end of the experiment, right?

A colleague and I were discussing this one yesterday. The main problem we could see is that we're sure meat ants are already found in Queensland, and they haven't made an appreciable dent in the spread of cane toads there.

...but how do the Meat Ants taste? Or will this also add to my ever increasing salt intake...

Hmmmm, chocolate-covered meat ants with a side of BBQ sauce.......

No one else has said it yet, probably because they were bringing up salient points about biology and the ecosystems but. . .*struggling not to make the obvious Simpsons reference*. . .it's so OBVIOUS!

No, but really honestly, one of the researchers explained that "the next step is to work out whether we can manipulate habitats - perhaps by using bait to bring toads and ants together more frequently - to increase the kill rate."

That quote is difficult to assess without some more context. Specifically:
- did the researcher follow it up with a burst of insane laughter?
- was the researcher speaking with a heavy German accent?
- was the researcher inexplicably lit from below?

By Phillip IV (not verified) on 03 Apr 2009 #permalink

The one small difference with this the Meat Ants are native to Australia. Which supports my hypothesis that the animal life is more likely to be poisonous or vicious than anywhere else on the planet. You may be able to include humans in that.

By David Schwartz (not verified) on 16 Apr 2009 #permalink

i know no one cares about this, but i think ice age was definitely not a pixar film. it was some other animation lab which i think has about the same amount of talent as pixar's pinky.