The beauty of nature is everywhere. It’s in the fresh morning dew on lush green grass and in the intricate patterns on butterfly wings. Sometimes, however, nature isn’t so beautiful. In fact it can be kind of horrifying.
Take the nightmarish sight found by one group of Polish scientists: a former nuclear bunker completely overrun by ants. Copious amounts of creepy, crawly ants is enough to gross you out, but scientists were left aghast when they realized how these very punk-rock ants were managing to survive.
Back in 2013, Polish scientists went on an expedition to observe bats they thought were nesting in an abandoned bunker. The spot had been part of a former nuclear facility and was now an overgrown home to various creatures.
There, they discovered ants, which were shocking for multiple reasons: There were millions of them crawling around in the bunker, and they were trapped with no resources. Questions started piling up.
Scientists believe the ants ended up in their precarious situation through a ventilation shaft. They couldn’t find their way out, making them self-contained and desperate to find food and water. The researchers assumed they wouldn’t last.
When the same team returned two years later to check on these ill-fated ants, they discovered something even more impressive: the ants hadn’t died off completely or weakened as a colony like they expected.
Instead, the ants were thriving with double the numbers of the last time the scientists were there. Still, there was no obvious sources of light, food, or water for these creatures. This left the team stumped as to how they survived.
Ants are known to be resourceful and super hardworking little guys. There have been examples of ants founding colonies inside walls or under concrete. Sometimes even deep inside your car’s engine. But even for them, this was a stretch.
This particular nest was left with no choice, as they were confined to the derelict bunker. They were desperate to keep up their regularly scheduled programming and activities, no matter the cost. So they did the unthinkable.
On T.V. shows when a character is hungry, the people around them can be seen mutating into absurd items of food. Often a giant chicken leg or some type of baked good. Just when they try to take a bite, the hallucination is usually broken. The ants, though?
These trapped ants never stopped picturing their mates as giant chicken legs. They resorted to full-blown cannibalism on the bodies of their dead colony mates. The various ant corpses showed evidence of bite marks from other ants.
Interestingly, the cannibalistic wounds were focused on the abdomen-area of the fallen ants. The scientists have an explanation for this. Apparently ants share resources more effectively than any other being on earth.