So if you saw Ant-Man at any point in the last several days, you’ve probably been wondering: is any of the stuff the ants do in the movie legit? That is to say, are the depictions of ants in the film scientifically accurate? It’s not like Hollywood movies put a premium on scientific-correctness, I mean have you seen the works of Roland Emmerich? Still, it’s kind of fun to consider where fantasy ends and realism begins, and to that end, some industrious internet journalist thought, “Hey, let’s ask an ant expert some of the stuff they do in the name of fighting evil and coolness in Ant-Man. Some of the answers may surprise you.
Blastr reached out to Stanford University biologist Dr. Deborah Gordon. Dr. Gordon studies the ecology and behaviour of ant colonies. First of all, she’s a fan of ant movies including the granddaddy of giant ant movies, Them! The most obvious question is the first they asked, can we humans really control ants with our minds? “Nobody controls the ants. The fascinating thing about ants is that there is no one in charge and no one tells them what to do,” said Gordon. “Even if we had a device to speak with ants, they would not be waiting for instructions, because they don’t follow instructions.”
Still, that doesn’t mean the rest of what the ants can do is impossible. “A rope of ants descend from somewhere, and they made a bridge. They modeled those on real ants,” Gordon explained. “Ants do make chains and bridges, again because one ant responds to the ant next to it, and the outcome is a bridge — not because somebody said make a bridge.”
But one of the movie’s gags turned out to be incorrect, Scott Lang’s favorite insect associate, Anthony, is not what he appears. “I think they did the animation by looking at pictures of ants, and they chose the picture of a queen ant on which to model an Antony, who is more of an Antoinette or Antonia,” said Gordon. “The females have much bigger heads. The males live only long enough to mate, so they don’t have much jaw musculature, because they don’t even need to eat. Antony had a very big head, and she looked like a queen.”
You can read more of Gordon’s thoughts on the latest Marvel Studios movie over at Blastr.
Ant-Man is currently in theaters everywhere.