Some ants do get to retire.
Many adjectives come to mind when thinking about ants, but ‘idle’ likely isn’t among them. But recently biologists discovered that after a lifetime of service in their namesake occupation, older leaf-cutter ants eventually decided to hang their hats, enjoying a retirement of sorts in their golden years. While the study may not appear to have overt real-word implications, researchers insist it may help us better understand our own notions of productivity, especially later in life. “This study demonstrates an advantage of social living that we are familiar with,” says the study’s lead author. “Humans that can no longer do certain tasks can still make very worthwhile contributions to society.”