We finally know the number of ants inhabiting the Earth

News hardware We finally know the number of ants inhabiting the Earth

In France, nearly seven out of ten French people are entomophobic. A widespread phobia directly linked to a multitude of very popular little beasts. Recently, thanks to an extensive study, scientists have sought to estimate their number and as you will see, the result is almost unimaginable.

What is entomophobia?

In the family of phobias, we want… entomophobia! As we explained to you in our chapô, nearly seven out of ten French people are entomophobic. But what is entomophobia? To better understand this term, we offer the definition given by the site The Internet user :

Psychic pathology which corresponds to an excessive and unreasoned fear of insects, a small invertebrate animal which generally has antennae, articulated legs and sometimes wings. – The Internet user

While many people experience more common phobias such as thalassophobia (fear of the seabed), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), ochlophobia (fear of crowds) or agoraphobia (fear of public places), few people finally know the name of insect phobia. However, who can claim to have never seen someone jump or panic at the sight of an ant or a beetle?

In this article, we will mainly focus on ants and their numbers on Earth, since this is exactly the idea that a group of researchers from the University of Hong Kong had. It’s no secret, but with their almost monarchical societies, their staggering number of species (30,000) and their fascinating anthills, ants are among the most popular insects on the planet.. Present everywhere around the globe and with strong colonies that can sometimes reach millions of members, these insects have been wandering the Earth for many millennia.

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A number that leaves us almost speechless

For you to realize how preponderant ants are on our planet, are you just saying that their biomass (= mass of matter) is greater than that of humans. Just that. It’s all well and good to know all that, but how many ants inhabit the planet? Hard to say given the ridiculous size of the protagonists, yet a group of determined researchers did try to estimate their number.

We owe this study to a group of scientists from the University of Hong Kong who relied on no less than 489 studies to succeed in obtaining a convincing result on the question. The latter was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the least we can say is that it gives quite a headache. You are ready, let’s go! After estimation, it would therefore seem that the Earth currently has 20 billion ants, which gives us a figure: 20,000,000,000,000,000.

It’s unimaginable. We simply cannot imagine 20 quadrillion ants in a single pile, for example. It just doesn’t work. – Patrick Schultheiss, researcher at the University of Würzburg in Germany who participated in the study.

In addition, the group that conducted the research also determined that the total mass of ants inhabiting the Earth would be equal to 12 megatons of carbon.. All that to say that these results are completely crazy, even if it is only an estimate and fortunately. Just imagine the work it would have taken to count the ants one by one…mission impossible.

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