Nature TTL

How an ant can lift so much weight?



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Engineers have long marveled at how an ant can carry heavy objects more than its weight.

What is its secret?

Its secret is its neck structure.


Ant neck structure

 
Amazingly, according to the journal of biomechanics the neck joint of an ant can withstand pressures up to five thousand times the ant's weight.

Initially, scientists guessed that an ant might withstand one thousand times their weight judging by the leaves and prey they carry.

Thus these current findings were beyond expectation.

When humans carry only a third of their weight they may be unable to move fast after a few kilometers they may begin panting and require a break.

If you expect this to apply to ants then you are mistaken they can carry this weight effortlessly.

Ants accomplish even more when they work together you can see them carrying insects of considerable size through very uneven terrain and landscape.

Why are ants able to withstand those pressures with ease?


Withstanding pressure  


The researchers' micro ct scans of the ant's neck, reveal the unique interface between the soft and hard material connecting its head.

It explains why the ant's neck has unique properties of being both flexible and stiff at the same time.

However much remains to be learned on how the ants neck works this knowledge will greatly aid in making better robotic arms used in lifting objects.

They will be able to carry things that are more than their weight.

We hope this information has helped you understand why an ant is able to carry so much weight.