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125 comments

Obligatory... (5, Funny)

millennial (830897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295738)

I wonder if the zombie ants have a higher chance of infecting others if the leaves they cling to are the leaves of GRAAAAIIIIIINNNNSSS?

Re:Obligatory... (3, Informative)

abigor (540274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295842)

Hahaha, that was retarded but hilarious.

Re:Obligatory... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33296034)

I wonder which are the fungus zombie people among us.

there are certain peoples who seemingly delight in turning their ecosystems into mud and sand.hmmm.

Re:Obligatory... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33299308)

You read comments on slashdot, and you still wonder?

Personally, I find it a certainty.

Re:Obligatory... (1)

Faw (33935) | more than 3 years ago | (#33299936)

They talked about it on Planet:Earth (found clip on Youtube [youtube.com] ). The ants go insane and the other "sane" ants actually exile them.

hmm.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33295742)

M. Night Shiamalan will probably make a stupid movie about this.

Re:hmm.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33295782)

... and it would somehow make money in the box office.

Re:hmm.. (2, Funny)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296608)

It's because there is a fungus that turns consumers into zombies.

Re:hmm.. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33300254)

At the end of the film, Chubby Checker would come on screen and tell us that the fungus is Soylent Green.

Re:hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33295802)

I wish I had mod points to +5 this up. You win 3 internets.

Re:hmm.. (4, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295826)

M. Night Shiamalan will probably make a stupid movie about this.

With a twist.

Re:hmm.. (4, Insightful)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295840)

We're the FLORA, and what we thought was flora, IS ACTUALLY THE FAUNA

Re:hmm.. (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296186)

Its "What a twist"

Re:hmm.. (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296324)

Actually, the movie would end with a twist. Or am I just failing at the joke?

Re:hmm.. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297562)

Actually, the movie would end with a twist. Or am I just failing at the joke?

Yup [youtube.com]

Re:hmm.. (3, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296068)

M. Night Shiamalan will probably make a stupid movie about this.

Well, that'd be quite a step up from his other movies, at least.

Re:hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33296508)

M. Night Shiamalan will probably make a stupid movie about this.

Didn't he make the movie already ? It sounds vaguely like The Happening [imdb.com] , as memorable as that was. At least it could be construed as such.

Re:hmm.. (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296962)

Been there, done that, plants fart and the world commits suicide. Now if only Shiamalan would actually die in real life instead of his cameo appearances in his movies, then mistakes like "The Last Air Bender" could be avoided.

Already done (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296662)

X-Files.

I think the ep was called "FireWalker"

Re:Already done (1)

Nkwe (604125) | more than 3 years ago | (#33298138)

Totally weird. I just finished watching that episode on Netflix, walked in the other room to scan Slashdot and found this article. Yes, the episode was "FireWalker". Maybe the truth IS out there.

Re:Already done (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33298422)

Synchronicity [wikipedia.org]

Indeed, the Truth is out there. We just need to find it.

Re:hmm.. (2, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297630)

Or George Romero will make an AWESOME one.

Re:hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33297640)

M Night Shiamalan is stupid and whoever will watch that would be stupid and an imbecile zombie too

Re:hmm.. (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297670)

I believe a TV series called "the X Files" has such an episode, only with humans instead. And I saw something about this fungus/ant stuff on the Nature Channel about a year ago.

"The Truth is Out There" - X-Files 'tag' line

Re:hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33298564)

And someone will make a game about this.

Maybe something called Plants vs. Zombies... Oh, wait...

Oblig (1)

DevConcepts (1194347) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295760)

I welcome our fungus overlords

Humans get it too (-1, Offtopic)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295792)

Ever wondered why ignorANT people latch onto a conspiracy theory with no merit or plausibility? Same thing, only different; Conspiracy Virus. Get the cure, read a book!

Where's Master Chief... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33295794)

When you need him?

-AC

Re:Where's Master Chief... (1, Insightful)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295836)

When you need him?

At the strip club getting a table dance... where the hell else did you think he'd be?

I may be wrong... (3, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295806)

But isn't this same fungus found in some humans, too? It doesn't cause them to climb trees, but it does tend to make them more aggressive, paranoid, and less able to deal with authority IIRC. I thought there was a /. story about it, and how the the higher a country's proportion of infection was, the more likely they were to have a better Soccer team...

Re:I may be wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33295850)

the the higher a country's proportion of infection was, the more likely they were to have a better Soccer team...

Few, I'm safe.

Nope, that's toxoplasmosis (5, Informative)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295872)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis#Behavioral_changes [wikipedia.org]

A parasite found inthe urinary tracts of felines that infects about half the human population

It makes rats lose their fear of cat urine, and has been linked to schizophrenia in humans

Re:Nope, that's toxoplasmosis (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33298666)

In the feces of cats, not the urine. From the wikipedia enty:

"Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii.[1] The parasite infects most genera of warm-blooded animals, including humans, but the primary host is the felid (cat) family. Animals are infected by eating infected meat, by ingestion of feces of a cat that has itself recently been infected, or by transmission from mother to fetus. Although cats are often blamed for spreading toxoplasmosis, contact with raw meat is a more significant source of human infections in many countries, and fecal contamination of hands is a greater risk factor.[2]"

Re:Nope, that's toxoplasmosis (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#33299158)

So, what you're saying is that about half of the human population are schizophrenic zombies?

Actually, that explains a lot.

Re:Nope, that's toxoplasmosis (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33299466)

... and has been linked to schizophrenia in humans

I heard that before ... but only from the voices in my head!

Re:I may be wrong... (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296062)

Its interesting because my nephew was diagnosed with fungal meningitis about 18 months ago. He was otherwise healthy, not immune deficient. He is 15, does well at school and plays sport. A scientist who works in the field told me that treatment for fungal infections is much harder than for bacteria because more things which kill fungus, also kill us.

So far I haven't seen any fungus induced behavior change in my nephew, apart from the normal effects of a brain infection.

Re:I may be wrong... (3, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296124)

And you probably won't.

Ant brains are very tiny, and the control and regulation mechanisms in them are simple. Human brains are immense, complex, and very hard to control. A fungus could make it fuzzy or twitchy, but to actually alter a behavior to its own ends is unlikely times ten to the fifteenth power.

There are about 1.5 million kinds of fungi, many of which will infect humans (basically move in and treat us like a tree root). They can live in us, but they don't particularly get anything out of us evolutionarily until we die and they can become spores as our corpses dessicate. Which they're content to wait for, as long as we haven't developed anything to kill them outright that might result in superiority of mutations that (a) don't die from our medicine and (b) make us reject medicine entirely. (Maybe scientologists and christian fundamentalists have a brain fungus. It would explain a lot.)

The really interesting thing is that while the spores are contagious (it's how we get infected), the living form of the fungi are generally not. So your nephew most likely can't infect anyone by contact.

Re:I may be wrong... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296174)

So your nephew most likely can't infect anyone by contact.

Sure, where it is, its hard to see how it could get out, or in for that matter.

Re:I may be wrong... (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296768)

But those burning worms do get humans in africa to go to the water source where the worms lay their eggs. Which other humans drink and hatch.

Hopefully we will beat them before they break out into the larger world.

Re:I may be wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33298496)

"Human brains are immense, complex, and very hard to control. A fungus could make it fuzzy or twitchy, but to actually alter a behavior to its own ends is unlikely times ten to the fifteenth power."

Don't believe him! he's only saying that because of the fungus!

Re:I may be wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33296138)

> So far I haven't seen any fungus induced behavior change in my nephew, apart from the normal effects of a brain infection.

Oh, ok-dok then... I was beginning to get alarmed... whew!

OTOH, as my father always says to me (well, kinda like): "At least, now we know he's got a brain".

Re:I may be wrong... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297622)

Watch the Planet Earth series. There are hundreds of strains of fungi like these, that all infect various insects. Moths, grasshoppers, praying mantises... they're all very, very species specific. So much so that they actually act as a natural balance so that no one species crowds out others because if they get too populous they end up being more vulnerable to the spores because of the denser population.

Re:I may be wrong... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297626)

Bad form replying to myself I know, but I just remembered what the parent was talking about... it's toxoplasmosis. It's not a fungus, it's a protozoa [wikipedia.org]

Fungal infections are rare in humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33298024)

They are rare because the human immune system is very good at preventing/killing actual infections. Yeah some people get some infections in the dead cold parts of their body (athletes foot), but for most people it's quite rare. Yes, females get vaginal fungal infections, but it's really just a colonization of a part that's connected to the outside (bladder). The few times actual fungal infection are seen in people who are really screwed up - immune disorders (AIDS, etc).

Toxoplasmosis is not a fungus, but a protozoan (single cell creature) parasite, fungus is in the plant kingdom.

Re:Fungal infections are rare in humans (4, Informative)

dynamo52 (890601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33298320)

Toxoplasmosis is not a fungus, but a protozoan (single cell creature) parasite, fungus is in the plant kingdom.

No, fungi are their own kingdom.

Goa'uld ants... (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295808)

Next there will be a special breed of ant that evolves to place the larval fungus in its stomach pouch.

Re:Goa'uld ants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33295828)

Ants Kree!

Re:Goa'uld ants... (1)

dieth (951868) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296074)

Sho baak Jaffa KREE!

Re:Goa'uld ants... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33296394)

Shel nok kree, Jaffa!

BBC (4, Informative)

genican1 (1150855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295812)

This was featured on the BBC series Planet Earth- the episode on jungles. Very cool to see a fungi erupt from an ant's head!

Re:BBC (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295962)

Yeah it was! The time lapse in "Jungles" was brilliant! I was just coming here to echo your sentiment.

Re:BBC (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33296050)

The link to it is this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuKjBIBBAL8
Saw this article title and thought the very video myself.

Re:BBC (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33298878)

This was featured on the BBC series Planet Earth

Tell me about it. These are supposed to be so called nerds here. Slashdot users should switch on the discovery channel every now and again, and then realise that this is not news, it's olds.

Then there's the worse insult. What self respecting nerd hasn't seen Planet Earth in HD. Man there were some awesome scenes in that. The fungus growing out of the ants head in timelapse was just one of many.

Bad summary (5, Informative)

cytoman (792326) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295814)

The article actually explains that this behavior of the fungus controlling the ant has been ongoing for 48 million years. The slashdot summary does not even mention this as the key point.

Re:Bad summary (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296002)

Complaining that the summary missed a vital point? Been away from Slashdot for a while, have you?

Re:Bad summary (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#33298580)

So this news is 48 million years old? It must be slow news day.

Re:Bad summary (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33298918)

Fungi are very interesting in more ways than one.. In addition to these mind controlling abilities, it seems they can use gamma radiation in similar ways than plants do photosynthesis with light. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus

Now, as gamma radiation can penetrate very deep in all kinds of material, what organism could be better suited for outer space and life inside asteroids than fungi? Add to that all those problems with classification of them as either animals or plants.. Maybe fungi isn't from earth originally?

DoD (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295818)

This sounds like a wonderful new weapon to develop. Human Zombies that explode spreading their Zombiefing spores. That should solve our terrorist problems rather quickly. Guess I need to stock up on anti-fungi's down in the bunker.

Whaaa...? (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295822)

Didn't I see this make the aggregator rounds a couple weeks back?

From The Oatmeal [theoatmeal.com] , no less.

Are our science magazines taking their cues from webcomics, now? O_o

Oh, nevermind. (3, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295852)

That was a mind-control flatworm. This is a mind-control fungus.

FTFA:

He added: "Of all the parasitic organisms, only a few have evolved this trick of manipulating their host's behaviour. Why go to the bother? Why are there not more of them?"

Indeed...

Re:Oh, nevermind. (4, Informative)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296198)

      We know that:

  - organisms that survived and procreated did something successful, and

  - behavior is inherited.

      This sounds to me like the ant climbs because the fungus is in its head and its trying to escape it by going higher. There's a similar organism reproduction cycle with ants where the ant goes to the top of grass, and the ant is said to be controlled to do that so it is easy prey for a bird where the organism continues the cycle in the intestines.

      The way this should be viewed is that parasites that attacked certain areas of their host that resulted in host behavior that was most successful for the parasite to move to the next stage of growth survived, and others who didn't are not here. Neither "controlled" the host, it is blind evolutionary luck.

      Similar can be said about organisms that release toxins that force a flushing action for their onward journey. Did they "control" the host to develop diarrhea? No, those that perform actions that allow for survival and procreation survived and procreated. Unfortunately for both ants and humans, with devastating, but thoughtless, effectiveness.

  rd

Re:Oh, nevermind. (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33298748)

Neither "controlled" the host, it is blind evolutionary luck.

There's no such thing as non-"blind lucky" evolution.

Or, from the opposite PoV, there's no luck in large numbers.

With a large enough number of ants, spores and years, you're bound to get a fungus that makes the ant write Hamlet.

Re:Oh, nevermind. (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296920)

Here's another one [slashdot.org] that was mentioned on slashdot, although it is also a worm inside of grasshoppers that convinces the insect to move towards water. Another one eats the brain [slashdot.org] even if it doesn't control it. Or wasps that control cockroaches [slashdot.org] with toxins injected into the brain.

I was certain I had seen this story on Slashdot before, but I can't find it now......but it's mentioned in the comments [slashdot.org] .

Captain Higgins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33295824)

The oatmeal did a comic about a similar tapeworm, look for it in wikipedia

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/captain_higgins

BBC Planet Earth shows this (5, Interesting)

anethema (99553) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295830)

BBC Planet Earth shows the cordyceps fungus attacking some Bullet Ants in South America. It is incredible camera work showing the ant being forced to climb, and later a time lapse of the fruit body erupting from the ant's body. It is short but very well filmed, as is the case for the entire series.

HIGHLY recommend watching this if you have any interest in nature.

The cordyceps section is around 28 minutes into the "Jungle" episode. You won't be dissapointed.

Actually I searched youtube and found an excert of this episide including the cordyceps on the ants. The cordyceps part starts about 4 minutes into this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qabQZQQrGk

I still recommend getting the blue-ray or at least dvd of this series, can't say enough good things about it in general.

Re:BBC Planet Earth shows this (4, Interesting)

anethema (99553) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295928)

By the way having read the article better, it seems to imply the fungus actually is taking "over its brain and muscles" then killing the creature. In reality it is likely the fungus is making the ant feel more comfortable in this area or changing the way its pheremones tell it to go.

The incredible thing though, is according to wikipedia: "The changes in the behavior of the infected ants are very specific and tuned for the benefit of the fungus. The ants generally clamp to a leaf's vein about 25 cm above the ground, on the northern side of the plant, in an environment with 94-95% humidity and temperatures between 20 -30 degrees C. "

That is pretty damn specific, amazing so simple an organism can induce behavior that complex in an ant.

Re:BBC Planet Earth shows this (3, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296088)

It doesn't have to induce behavior that complex -- it just has to inhibit or stimulate responses already genetically programmed into the ant.

Its not a safe assumption that anything about the fungus is directly causing those behaviors -- there's a lot of fungus in the world, and there's a lot of species that fungus may grow on. All you need is one combination to be beneficial to the fungus, and it'll spread.

Re:BBC Planet Earth shows this (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296144)

But it's logical.

The fungus evolved to survive in that climatic condition, as well as when the ant performs the necessary behavior.

Future mutations may allow the ant to clamp 20 cm up the stalk, or in a 32 C environment. Or future mutations of the ants may delete a key signalling chemical the fungus was using, and wipe it out from lack of victims.

Re:BBC Planet Earth shows this (1)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297342)

The way you describe it, I almost sort of see an arduino controlling a few servo motors and a smell sensor, and the fungus is shorting the smell sensor's output to 1 or 0 to manipulate the ant's programming.

Re:BBC Planet Earth shows this (2, Informative)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296230)

Yeah, forget the article, the BBC coverage is much much more awesome! Here's an excerpt of just the cordyceps portion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCOQ0VU24xw [youtube.com]

They mention that the other ants in the colony can usually detect when one of the ants gets infected, and actually move her as far from the colony as possible if they can before she goes all Zahn on them.

I remember stumbling upon it when I was watching videos about other parasites. Some good stuff out there... There are also parasites that can do mind control on mammals:
http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/Science-Fiction-News.asp?NewsNum=547 [technovelgy.com]

While you're at it, minus while look for bot fly larvae and of course the intestinal parasites while you're at it. Pleasant dreams!

Re:BBC Planet Earth shows this (2, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296258)

A better (by brevity) YouTube clip [youtube.com] to illustrate the article. For young and impressionable kids, time to go to bed at about 1:04-th second from the clip's start.

And... Misleading summary. (4, Informative)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295888)

An article in the Guardian newspaper shows how parasitic fungi evolved the ability to control ants they infect [emphasis added]

No... not really. If you RTFA, it gives a nice outline of what we have known for many years about the fungus controlling the ants, and it mentions the new fact: That evidence of the behavior is found in 48 million-year-old fossilized plants. Nowhere does the article even hint that we have even a remote understanding of the "how".

Allow me to quote the end of the article:

He added: "Of all the parasitic organisms, only a few have evolved this trick of manipulating their host's behaviour.

Why go to the bother? Why are there not more of them?"

Scientists are not clear how the fungus controls the ants it infects, but know that the parasite releases alkaloid chemicals into the insect as it consumes it from the inside.

Ender's Game (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 3 years ago | (#33295958)

Reminds me of something out of Speaker for the dead.

Okay we've hit bottom ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33296078)

When headlines look like the titles of ScFi Channel movies.

mind-controlling parasites nothing new (4, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296148)

I've ran into two better examples of parasite-inducing mind-control / suicide...

1) A parasite that needs to get to water for its adult stage, so just before it climbs out of its host (somewhat aliens-style) it influences it to dive into water:

http://majorityrights.com/index.php/weblog/comments/cricket_infected_with_gordian_worm_committing_suicide/ [majorityrights.com]

2) a snail driven to suicidal behavior to attract the next vector, a bird, to continue its life cycle:

http://zombieresearch.net/2009/10/14/zombie-snail-spreads-infection/ [zombieresearch.net]

Re:mind-controlling parasites nothing new (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33299734)

There's an even gorier and specialized example, the emerald cockroach wasp, which will damage a cockroach's brain to remove all survival instincts so it allows itself to be infected and eaten alive from the inside out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emerald_cockroach_wasp [wikipedia.org]

Behavioural Manipulation (1)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296156)

This article reminds me of a good comic from The Oatmeal describing a flatworm that engages in similar behavioural manipulation: Why Captain Higgins is my favorite parasitic flatworm - The Oatmeal [theoatmeal.com]

If both a fungus and a flatworm can make an ant climb onto the right leaf, I wonder if there's some easy way to trigger an algorithm in the ant's brain that homes them to the right spot? Oh, and if I recall correctly, there's a bee or wasp that can sting an ant's head, injecting its venom into the correct nerve area, to allow the bee to lead the ant to a good eating spot, like leading a horse by its reigns.

X-Files (2, Interesting)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296172)

This was the bases of an X-Files episode as well, except it was in humans, not in ants.

Re:Futurama (2, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296256)

Not to mention
Futurama - Season 3 Ep. 4 Parasites Lost
Though in that case, Fry got quite a lot of upgrades from his intestinal colony.

Widespread (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296238)

This phenomenon has also been observed in the stink ant of the Cameroon [mjt.org] .

What a bunch of bullshit (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296304)

I'm a fungus afficionado, if there is such a thing, and here I was all excited that they'd actually made some progress explaining how the fungus causes the ants to carry out such very specific behaviors. And the summary made it sound like that... But it basically boiled down to a sentence or two at the end of the article saying "We think the fungus uses some kind of chemicals on the ants. We don't really know." What a bunch of bullshit.

Re:What a bunch of bullshit (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33298162)

I'm a fungus aficionado, if there is such a thing, and here I was all excited that they'd actually made some progress explaining how the fungus causes the ants to carry out such very specific behaviors. And the summary made it sound like that... But it basically boiled down to a sentence or two at the end of the article saying "We think the fungus uses some kind of chemicals on the ants. We don't really know." What a bunch of bullshit.

Lighten up, Francis.

My head... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296432)

... I think I have fungus in my head to post this /. comment. :(

I, for one, welcome...... (1)

Ogre332 (145645) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296558)

our new zombie ant..... meh, too easy.

Analogy? (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296566)

"The fungus controls the ants movements to a suitable leaf and causes the ant to grip onto the leaf's central stem, allowing the fungus to spore which will allow more ants to become infected."

Sounds like modern, social-networking.

I propose that, in the future, Facebook users are referred to as "Zombie Ants!" (must include the exclamation) and Facebook be referred to as "Killer FungusBook" (may be substituted with "Necrotizing FasciitisBook" when used in academic circles).

I believe this would remove a lot of the ambiguity and distrust pervading the current spectrum of social-engineerin...er, social-networking models.

Re:Analogy? (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296638)

Whoa! My bad!

Necrotizing Fasciitis is a bacteria.

I therefore propose Facebook be known as "Candida AlbicansBook".

Sorry for the confusion(mine, that is).

Second zombie wave. (1)

dalmor (231338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296666)

This isn't the first time [slashdot.org] ants have had to deal with the walking dead.

Works on mammals too. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296750)

"Toxoplasma gondii,"hijacks the sexual reward pathway" in rats' minds. "

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/04/how-cat-poo-parasite.html [boingboing.net]

It also has unspecified effects on humans (current theory is neurotic behavior-- which could affect entire civilizations and cultures).

One single Flood spore can destroy a species. (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33296806)

That's the thing about Sci-fi. Someone dreams it up, then it becomes even scarier when it is found to exist in real life. (or something close to it). I know, Halo isn't the first to explore the motiff, but I have to say it:

"Glass the amazon, it's the only way to be sure!"

On the Discovery Channel. (1)

psychodave (756618) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297026)

I've seen this on the discovery channel. I almost wish I had this stuff in my backyard every spring to kill off the new hoards of ants.

A New Record: 48M-year-old news (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297778)

Title of the article is "'Zombie ants' controlled by parasitic fungus for 48m years". Of course, the news is that we have just discovered it isn't new :-)
Here's a medical one [wikimedia.org]

Well I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33297784)

welcome our fungal mind-controlling overlords!

the guardian newspaper shows this 10 years after.. (1)

oneiron (716313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297842)

I'd love to change the world, but I'm reading 10 year old second-hand knowledge on slashdot. Really, if you're reading slashdot and didn't have this knowledge fully integrated into your consciousness...head on over to digg.

I always suspected... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297892)

...that my ex and her family had a similar survival strategy.

Mind Control for Caterpillars (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33297976)

Equally fascinating and cool... a wasp that paralyzes a caterpillar only to lay larvae in it. The larvae attack the brain and control it forcing the caterpillar to protect them as they grow and eventually cocoon itself in a safe location so they can consume the host's body inside out.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2009/02/13/parasitic-wasps-got-their-poison-from-an-ancient-virus/ [discovermagazine.com]

Not more impressive than the rest of life (1)

tommyhj (944468) | more than 3 years ago | (#33298208)

Consider any viral infection in humans, a virus hardly even being an organism, that cause behavioral changes and forces the human to seek out large groups of fellow individuals (hospitals), only to involuntarily spray them with bodily fluids (vomiting, diarrhea).

And it isn't true that there aren't more of the fungus, like the article claims. Planet Eart clearly states that there are thousands. And I believe that an ant has a fairly simple cortex, allowing simple chemical influences to make it go up, left, right, to the sun, bite, etc.

When you have unlimited noise and only select the bits that makes for a good breeding ground for a fungus, anything possible that CAN happen, WILL happen. See - Murphys law accurately describes the principles of life!

very old.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33299208)

this is news how? This is already been out there for YEARS....wtf

The cure... (2, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33299714)

...is obviously giving the ants tiny red crowbars.
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