We've been looking at ant intelligence the wrong wayAntoine Wystrach – University of Sussex, The Conversation9/03/13 12:20pmFiled to: animal behavioranimal intelligencebiologyzoologyantoine wystrachscienceantsentomology294EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkLooking at it the right way could help uncover the mysteries of their alien complexity.AdvertisementTop photo of battling ants by Alex Wild.How intelligent are animals? Despite centuries of effort by philosophers, psychologists and biologists, the question remains unanswered. We are inclined to tackle this question using a top-down approach. It seems intuitive to start with our own assumptions about human intelligence, and design experiments that ask whether animals possess similar anthropomorphic abilities.Do animals have a language, or a personality? Do they feel empathy or achieve abstract reasoning? This approach does suit the study of animals closely related to us, like apes. But is it relevant when studying animals such as insects?ShareTweet Kinja is in read-only mode. We are working to restore service.