There will probably be a lot of traffic jams Monday, especially in the Paris region, the fifth day of the strike against the pension reform. To reduce plugs, and if we inspired ... ants? Several studies suggest that their mode of travel could be a management model for humans.
"The circulation is fluid"
French and American researchers have studied the circulation of ant colonies during their food harvest and published their results in the eLife scientific journal. And the results are enlightening: even when they are numerous, there is never any traffic jam among the ants.
In the laboratory, 25,000 ants (from European Argentina, from Toulouse) were placed on the same road, with smaller sections than others. And there, surprise: scientists were struck by the wisdom of small animals! "No bottling, circulation is fluid," says Laure-Anne Poissonnier, researcher at the Center for Animal Cognition in Toulouse.
A form of collective intelligence
The ants, seeing that the road is full, wait to engage or turn back. The researchers also observed that ants are strategists: when the traffic is dense, they adapt their speed but do not accelerate, so as not to risk colliding with other ants, which would make them waste time. They still manage to recover their food with the same speed.
For Laure-Anne Poissonnier, it is the expression of a form of collective intelligence: "Having an effective use of their track is very important for them, since it corresponds to the amount of food they will bring back to the nest In fact, they have a common goal: We humans, when we hit the road, have individual goals and destinations (going to work, etc.), so we have less reason to make sure that there is no traffic jam on the roads. "