Are human beings evolving into honeypots?

June 28, 2008 | By | 3 Replies More

I’m learning a lot about honeypot ants. They are incredible little creatures.  Also known as repletes or storage ants, certain members of these ant colonies serve as living storage jars for the nectar gathered by the other workers.  Their abdomens extend many times bigger than the ant originally was, such that each of these living vessels looks like an ant with a grape stuck on its butt.


Image by Greg Hume

As I learned from reading an article called “Sweet Dreams,” in the April, 2008 issue of Natural History Magazine, repletes “hang from ceilings of domed chambers in the underground nest.”  The other worker ants fill up the repletes with nutrients.  The repletes get so large that they are forever trapped inside the nest, hanging from the ceiling.  What purpose do repletes serve?  “During time of scarcity, repletes regurgitate nectar to colony members, an especially valuable asset in arid environments.”

My question, then, relates to the dramatic onslaught of obesity in humans. If viewed traditionally, obesity is life-shortening and often deadly.   In fact, it’s senseless.   What if it’s not senseless, though?  What if the many huge people among us are sacrificing themselves for the well-being of those of us who are not huge?   What if the numerous humans who are obese are actually storing up nutrients to aid the rest of us in times of scarcity?

I know that this theory of human evolution might strike some as absurd and, indeed, it is (and I do speak as a former fatty).  Yet this is the image I had while reading about honeypot ants.

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Category: Cartoons, Health, Science, Whimsy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. What if the many huge people among us are sacrificing themselves for the well-being of those of us who are not huge? What if the numerous humans who are obese are actually storing up nutrients to aid the rest of us in times of scarcity?

    Man, Erich, that's a theory that my potsmoking ex-roommate could have made up. 😀

  2. Alison says:

    Um, I'm sorry, Erich, but I'd have to be awfully hungry to eat food that obese people regurgitated for me!

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Proj: My whimsical thought is a "theory" only in the sense that Creationists portray evolution of being "only a theory." As far as pot-smoking, the answer is no. I don't smoke anything (or drink or do any sort of mind-altering drugs).

    I wrote out my "theory" late at night after I had little sleep either of the two previous nights, which could be the cognitive equivalent of pot-smoking …

    BTW, I agree with Allison entirely.

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