Home > Papers from 2013 > To choose or not to choose

To choose or not to choose

The collective navigation of pheromone-using ant species is remarkable. We have seen many examples of  how, at a colony level, ultimate path choices are efficient. Though as an emergent behaviour, this must come from the behaviours of individual ants. From the literature, many descriptions of individual ant behaviour  talk about how individual ants might ‘choose’ particular paths (at bifurcatiuons), presumably on the basis of a simple comparison. However, it has always been true that the use of a word like choice, seems to be slightly anthropomorphic. Indeed, here Garnier et al. use an elegant robotic implementation as proof of concept that the emergent properties of collective route networks are not dependent on cognitive processes, such as choice, at the individual level.
Garnier S, Combe M, Jost C, Theraulaz G (2013) Do Ants Need to Estimate the Geometrical Properties of Trail Bifurcations to Find an Efficient Route? A Swarm Robotics Test Bed. PLoS Comput Biol 9(3): e1002903.
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