Scientists have now estimated that the global population of ants around the world is 20 quadrillion or 2.5 million per person. The number was officially published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences after scientists combed through 489 published studies that surveyed the number of ants in a given environment.
“It’s unimaginable,” Patrick Schultheiss, a lead author of the study, told The Washington Post. “We simply cannot imagine 20 quadrillion ants in one pile, for example. It just doesn’t work.”
The number 20,000,000,000,000,000 means that there are 2.5 million ants per single human being on earth.
“We estimated that 20 quadrillion average-sized ants corresponds to a dry weight or ‘biomass’ of approximately 12 million tonnes of carbon,” the authors said.
They estimated that if all of the ants were taken out of the ground and dried up, they would weigh more than all of the wild birds and wild mammals combined. They would also be as heavy as one-fifth of the dry weight of all humans.
Ants are crucial for a healthy and thriving ecosystem. They aerate the ground and help get water and oxygen to the roots of plants. They also move seeds and take them into tunnels where they often sprout and grow into new plants. Ants eat pests, rotting wood, and other decaying materials, which helps keep forests and environments clean.
This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 21 September 2022. Lead Image Source : NOTE OMG/Shutterstock.
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