Genetic scientists create freakish man-made ‘monster’ ants
Nightmarish “supersoldier” ants with huge heads and jaws have been created by activating ancient genes, the Daily Mail reported Friday.
Scientists believe the monster ants may be a genetic throwback to an ancestor that lived millions of years ago, the report said.
Scientists say they can create the supersoldiers at will by dabbing normal ant larvae with a special hormone ― the larvae then develop into supersoldiers rather than normal soldier or worker ants.
Supersoldier ants can occur naturally in the wild, but only rarely. In the deserts of America and Mexico, their job is to protect the colony from raids by invading army ants, according to the report.
The supersoldiers use their enormous heads to block the nest entrance and attack any enemy ants that get too close.
Scientists showed that ordinary ants of the species Pheidole morrisi contain all the genetic “tools” needed to turn them into supersoldiers - they just need a hormonal push, the newspaper said.
The research was published in the journal Science.