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Ant death spiral (Video)

Lunch break: This gives me a serious case of the heeby-jeebies. Ants have an incredible communication system, allowing them to follow exactly the track of the lead ant. The only problem? If the lead ant somehow finds himself retracing his own steps.

The Ant Room Maven (yes, there are Ant Room Mavens) says "A circle of army ants, each one following the ant in front, becomes locked into a circular mill. They will continue to circle each other until they all die."

It's sounds like an Aesop's fable in the making: Don't always follow the leader.

If you want to make it even more depressing, watch it with Louis Armstrong's Heebie Jeebies playing in the background.

Updated, 12:46 p.m. The inimitable Katharine Zaleski informs me that this fable is often used in management classes. However I can't seem to find "The Ants Moved My Cheese and then Died" anywhere on Amazon, so I'll have to take her word for it.

(Thanks to Neatorama for seriously freaking me out.)

By Melissa Bell  | September 13, 2010; 12:39 PM ET
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