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MAN IN TUB MODERN WORLD
inhabitants of arid regions where there is liiile to pick up during the
dry months. Accordingly they culled the seeds of various grasses
at the end of the growing season ;md store them in special under-
ground granaries in their nests. It is these reserve supplies which
are the object of ant warfare*. The inhabitants of one nest set out
deliberately to raid the supplies of another group. According to
Forel and other patient students of ant life, they may employ quite
elaborate military tactics, and the battles generally result in heavy
casualties. If the attackers win, they remove the stores grain by
grain to their own nest. Ant wars never last nearly so long as human
wars. One campaign observed by the American myrmceologist
McGook, in IVnn Square in the. centre of Philadelphia, lasted almost
3 weeks. The longest on record is (>| weeks.
Harvesters are the only kind of ants to go in for accumulating
property, as well as the chief kind to practise war. This association of
property with war is interesting, as various anthropologists believe
that in the human species war, or at any rate habitual and organised
war, did not arise, in human evolution until man had reached the
stage of settled civili'/ation, when he began to accumulate stores of
grain and other forms of wealth.
Less deliberate wars may also occur in some other species, between
communities whose nests are so close that they compete* for the same
food-territory. When similarly provoked condicts occur between
closely related species, the term war may perhaps be extended to
them. On the other hand, the raids of the slave-making ants are not
true war, but a curious combination oFpmlation and parasitism.
There is another group of ants called army ants, which suggests
military activity; but the phrase is really a misnomer, for these army
ants are in reality simply predatory species winch happen to hunt in
packs: they are the wolves of the insect world, not the war-mongers.
So much then for war us a biological phenomenon. The facts
speak for themselves. War, far from being a universal law of nature,
or even a common occurrence, is a very rare exception among living
creatures; and where it occurs, it is either associated with another
phenomenon, almost equally rare, the amassing of property, or with
Biology can help put war in its proper perspective in another way.
War has often been justified on biological grounds. The progress of
life, say war's apologists, depends on the struggle for existence. This
struggle is universal, and results in what Darwin called u Natural