When it comes to finding new information, The Independent reports, those crazy, criss-crossing paths that ants take are more efficient than Google at processing new information:
The joint Chinese-German study, which is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that while individual “scout” ants may seem “chaotic” in their movements, they are leaving a trail of pheromones to allow following “gathering” ants to refine and shorten their journeys to food sources in the vicinity of the colony.
As this journey is repeated again and again by worker ants carrying their loads, a “self-reinforcing effect of efficiency” creates a shorter trail, saving the colony the time and energy of “continued chaotic foraging”. “While single ants can appear chaotic and random-like, they very quickly become an ordered line of ants crossing the woodland floor in the search for food,” co-author of the study Professor Jurgen Kurths told The Independent.
He added: “That transition between chaos and order is an important mechanism and I’d go so far as to say that the learning strategy involved in that, is more accurate and complex than a Google search. These insects are, without doubt, more efficient than Google in processing information about their surroundings.”