Lord of the Ants

2008, Nature  -   25 Comments
Ratings: 8.39/10 from 28 users.

Lord of the AntsEvery so often a giant emerges on the stage of science, someone who transcends the narrow boundaries of a particular line of research and alters our perspective on the world. E.O. Wilson is such a man.

Ant expert E.O. Wilson has spent his career studying tiny creatures. Yet what sets him apart is his ability to step back and see the grand scheme of things. Newly appointed to Harvard, Wilson ignores charges by molecular biologists that his work with ants is mere "stamp-collecting." He goes on to discover ants' extraordinary means of communication, which opens up whole new areas of study.

Wilson realizes that the chemicals governing an ant's behavior must have a genetic basis. Does this hold true for other animals, including humans? His answer, the 1975 book Sociobiology, unleashes a firestorm of controversy. As the controversy slowly dies down, Wilson turns his attention to a new crisis: the ongoing loss of biodiversity. In the Florida Keys, he undertakes a groundbreaking experiment that provides data critical to the new field of conservation biology.

Now in his sixth decade at Harvard, Wilson launches his Encyclopedia of Life and continues writing books and actively campaigning to protect what's left of the world's endangered ecosystems. (Excerpt from pbs.org)

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25 Comments / User Reviews

  1. noname

    it's good he attacked those Haitians. They populate too much, and they are so poor. Perhaps, because their main concern is populating and searching for food for the young. Educate them at last, doctor.

  2. Letem Dangle

    Less is more.

  3. Massimo Tosco

    Edward O. Wilson, What an amazing person!

  4. Gary Wang

    thank for generosity of share

  5. ThisDarkChestOfWonders

    And all the little ants go marching. Red and black, too many for counting.

    1. dewflirt

      Spied your comment and followed your lead to this wonderful doc. Can't believe I didn't find it sooner, ants are the bees knees :)

  6. kittyphdfur

    I'd do him.

  7. Daniel Zavala


  8. Bryan Leger

    i think we are ants

  9. debbye

    i wish that i could state that i have spent my entire life in pursuit of something that i love.

    such is the legacy of Edward Osborne Willson …

  10. Ivan

    @ ProudinUS

    He had every right to condemn that family, they were in the wrong, be as it as may. But we all need to do what we have to, to survive. He was right to condemn, as he was to be sympathetic to their cause.

    A mind blowing and brilliant documentary, fascinating information and an awesome life he's lived/living.

    Thank you for posting this.

    Lond live Edward Osborne Willson!

    1. Jack1952

      You would have cut those trees down to save your family from starvation. It's too easy to criticize when we're not faced with that dilemma. There is something intrinsically wrong with someone who will not do anything within his power to protect those who depend on him.

  11. ProudinUS

    E.O. Wilson is truly a genious in his own right.I didn't agree with him condeming a family in Haiti who had to cut down a small lot of trees so they could grow a garden though.He has never had to live in a country that is economicaly deprived of everyday nessesities that most of us take for cranted.A person has to make out anyway they can and if that means cutting down a few trees to feed the family and grow some vegtables, then so be it.

    Good doc.

  12. Bilal Shah

    mind blowing

  13. Riley

    if anything, I think E.O. understates his vast impact.

    population biology, environmental studies & the currency of biodiversity concerns came of age during his watch, and in no small way pioneered by his insights.

    a wonderful example of a humble giant of a man & scientist.

    it was also interesting how pre-conceived notions - the bias against any genetic sort of determinism in humans, based upon the ridiculous notion that our species is somehow apart from the laws of nature which adhere in every other sphere, most likely a vestige of the trauma of the war - were raised against his insights. politics is as inevitable as it is pernicious.

    but truth will out, at least in the world of science.

  14. Superpescado

    Enjoyed this very much thank you

  15. pirateX

    A great man!I hope he lives forever!

  16. sirkots

    E.O. Wilson! What a wonderful character!

  17. Randy

    I absolutely LOVE his work! I was always a great advocate of his.

    And, this is an exquisite (sp?) documentary.

    I have often proposed, (in a high-minded, pompous way lol!), that once we are done as a species, the next sentient creatures to dominate the planet may be an hive insect...

    Like, say, ants or termites, or some species of bee, (if the "colony collapse" doesn't get them!)

  18. Illicit-Eloquence

    What a pleasant documentary, E.O. Wilson is an under-appreciated scientific genius. His ideas are still a subject of heated debate, and will probably remain so for a long time to come.

  19. Kelly K.

    Just think, a fish to the eye as a child helped set the stage for his life's work with "ants" instead of marine ecology. What might he have done with whales instead of ants?!?

  20. Achems Razor

    E.O. Wilson,very likable person.

    Very interesting Doc.

  21. Charles B.

    A remarkable man indeed.

  22. Tim

    It's a shame when people attack ideas not on their merits, but because they have unpleasant implications.

  23. K.X.