Ants and Wasps May Have Common Ancestor

ants

Ants and wasps may have once shared a common ancestor, according to a 2013 study published in Current Biology. For many decades, the origins of these social insects had been elusive because fossil records of ants — which are about 100 million years old — do not reveal much about what their ancestors were like. Scientists then had to compare ants with other living insects to determine their phylogeny. With hundreds of thousands of species of ants, bees, and wasps, it was almost impossible to pinpoint which species did ants evolved from. Although many agreed that ants, wasps, and bees were related, where was the solid evidence?

Thanks to the improvement of genetic technology, Philip S. Ward, Ph.D., a biologist at the University of California, Davis, and his colleagues used genetic sequencing to determine the phylogenetic relationship among ants, wasps, and bees. Based on the DNA evidence, ants are closely related to stinging wasps and bees but not to social wasps, such as yellow jackets. Ward traveled around Nevada and California to catch the insects. Using the sample, he and his colleagues sequenced more than 300 genes from one species of ant and 10 species of wasps and bees in which each species represented a different lineage. A computer was used to scan the genetic data, and it zoomed in on the mud dauber wasps as the ants’ closest relatives.

The mud dauber wasps’ behavior may offer clues to how ants and bees had evolved from a common ancestor. According to science writer Carl Zimmer, the female mud dauber wasp creates a narrow mud cylinder to protect each egg that she lays in rather than laying eggs on the ground and buzz away. The wasp then finds a prey, paralyzes it with her stinger, and carries it back to her nest inside the cylinder nest. When the wasp larva hatches out, it consumes the unfortunate prisoner. Ward and his colleagues speculated that the ancestors of ants, bees, and wasps may have delivered food to their young by bringing multiple tiny preys rather than bringing one large meal. When the young were old enough, they helped their mothers raise more offspring.

Early ants first appeared during the Jurassic period when dinosaurs ruled the land and mammals were tiny mouse-like creatures that scurried amidst the foliage. Back then, ants were uncommon compared to other insects until flowering plants evolved and spread throughout the world in the early Cretaceous period about 100 million years ago. These flowering plants provided new habitats and food sources for ants, bees, and wasps in which each species evolved to adapt to their ecological niches. Some foraged for plant materials in trees and shrubs, while others formed colonies in the forest floor. Some developed flight, gathered sustenance from flowers, and also formed social colonies.

Ants number more than 12,500 species (number may be 10,000 more) and wasps number more than 100,000 species today — quite a diverse population than stemmed from a common ancestor. DNA evidence showed that ants and their kin have adapted, diversified, and survived to their changing environment. Such an example may be currently happening as a swarm of Rasberry crazy ants descends upon southern Texas, adapting to Southern hospitality.

By Nick Ng

Sources:
The New York Times
Current Biology
Annual Reviews
Expeditions

6 Responses to "Ants and Wasps May Have Common Ancestor"

  1. Mike Riter   February 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Explain why there’s no string of intermediates between solitary bees or wasps and social bees or wasps here on Earth now? Are we to believe that some solitary insects used to want to become social in the past but now none feel like doing it? How convenient? Which came first honey bees’ ability to make wax or the inner knowledge of how to form it into perfect hexagon cells? How did honey bees survive and spread before they “learned” how to swarm? Please answer so we’ll have another example of what the Apostle Paul calls, “incoherent babbling and oppositions of what’s falsely called science.” And I’ trying hard to get to 5th grade, but reading this evolutionary nonsense makes it difficult to advance.

    Reply
  2. Nobu   January 8, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    @Mike Riter

    No evidence for evolution? If you truly believe that they you must either have your eyes missing or have part of your brain damaged.

    It has been very definitively proven many times. Sorry, yes fossils do exist and show things. But you Religious people excuse them away by claiming either they were placed there by god or even that some global conspiracy of scientists just make up the dates.

    You guys are insane, I bet you believe in Noah’s ark right? So this Noah guy really rounded up two of each animal and saved them, and you believe that? So he went and collected thousands of species of spiders and ant? lol.

    Sigh.

    You like to say “no evidence” for things, but you are not in a position to talk about things you are not educated in or understand. You consider your bible of BS as true, your foundation on reality is clearly skewed.

    If you don’t think there is evidence then I suggest you just for 1 year ignore your bible and actually get a scientific education and understand how a lot of things work.
    Understand earth science and tectonic play movement which also disproves your bible.

    Understand genetic relation between species and also fossil evidence across continents as they move, which also disproves you bible.

    Understand what the speed of light is and that parts of the universe are in fact billions of years old and we are receiving light from things long gone. Also disproves your bible.

    Understand that species like Neanderthal and Denisovan exited and in fact are genetically mixed into people today, also disproves your bible.

    Understand the human migration pathways and how Australian Aboriginals got to Australia far before any other modern races developed in other regions. (40,000 years).
    Understand that they even have basic cave drawings date to be prehistoric that also include prehistoric animals that are now extinct but were around when the early Aboriginals got here.

    Understand that the earth and history is not just 6000 years old like your Christian’s believe.

    For you to truly believe in your insane Christian beliefs, you have to ignore a whole world of facts and logic. You also have to be highly retarded in the head to actually accept bible explanations.

    Yes sorry kid, Humans are animals. We evolved on this planet, just as other species did. If you had at least half a brain you could figure this out with a basic biology education or even analyzing your own body to realize things.

    Every early culture had religions and gods. Sigh, do you not see you are just being another idiot?

    Let me explain some things even on Humans that go against your stupid god delusion. Humans have wisdom teeth that are a result of in the past humans with larger jaws. But modern humans have become more gracile but this means we have slightly too many teeth for our jaws now.

    Not only is this vestigial, it’s a totally useless feature and not even re purposed. It’s so bad that many people even have to get them removed since they cause problems. Sorry.

    Another thing is that more primitive animals have a muscle above their ear that can direct and move their whole ear around. Humans still retain this muscle, but it’s less developed and doesn’t do anything as we can’t direct our ears anymore.

    Also sorry but snakes evolved off lizards, sorry. This is also why many species also still retain vestigial mini undeveloped legs on their skeleton. Legless lizards are like a living stepping stone, they even move like snakes and their legs are so small they are useless and clearly are a shrunken form of what once was. sorry

    Fossils we have even show other clear re purposed and slowly changing features on animals.
    http://www.mtchs.org/BIO/text/chapter14/14images/14-11.gif

    Also sorry but whales and dolphins etc are examples of creatures that developed the ability to breath on land (from actually being on land obviously) but then went back into the ocean and evolved to be more water suited. They still today rely on their air breathing and can’t breath underwater, mammals just like us.

    But I am sure nothing can help you, you are stuck in your desperate blindness of faith. You come on sites to attack science, but I am sorry it’s not a winnable battle for you.

    You see religion has been dying pretty constantly over time, your see when human’s progress, religions dies. You see a book written by man that speculates on everything and gives incorrect explanations (Just for the sake of having an answer) is seen more and more for what it is as time goes by. All the gods and religions etc were created by early man, sorry.

    You are no less delusional than any other person following some type of religion, yet in your idiocy you think your particular one is some secret correct one. Sigh

    Many denominations of Christianity have ceased to exist, not sure what particular flavor you follow. lol

    Reply
  3. Mike Riter   August 17, 2015 at 12:18 am

    We have NO instances where a solitary wasp ever produced (evolved into) anything but a solitary wasp in our liftimes. Nor is there evidence in the fossil record. I’m reading James H. Hunt’s, “The Evolution of Social Wasps” and he doesn’t even attempt to tell us what evolved into what?? Come on evolutionists, what did Asian Giant Hornets evolve from? What did white-faced hornets evolve from? How did they get those incredible wings, eyes, legs, stomachs, antennae, sex organs that are compatible with the opposite sex, etc.! Then where did they get all their knowledge and skill? Tell me if you know!
    THE BIBLE KNOWS ABOUT EVOLUTIONISTS
    “THEY ARE WILLINGLY IGNORANT THAT THE HEAVENS WERE CREATED LONG AGO BY THE WORD OF GOD.” THEY “SUPRESS THE TRUTH” THAT “SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD, HIS INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES, HIS ETERNAL POWER AND DIVINE NATURE, HAVE BEEN CLEARLY SEEN, BEING COMPREHENDED THROUGH WHAT HAS BEEN MADE, SO THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE.” “FOR THEY EXCHANGED GOD’S TRUTH FOR THE LIE AND WORSHIPPED AND SERVED THE CREATURE RATHER THAN THE CREATOR.” SATAN HAS “BLINDED THE MINDS OF THE UNBELIEVING” CAUSING THEM TO BE “ALWAYS LEARNING AND NEVER ABLE TO ARRIVE AT THE TRUTH.” THEREFORE, THEIR MOUTHS ARE FULL OF “EMPTY CHATTER AND OPPOSING ARGUMENTS OF WHAT’S FALSELY CALLED SCIENCE.” “CLAIMING TO BE WISE, THEY BECAME FOOLS.” “THEY BECAME USELESS IN THEIR SPECULATIONS AND THEIR FOOLISH HEARTS WERE DARKENED” MAKING THEM UNABLE TO SEE THAT “THE HEAVENS REVEAL THE GLORY OF GOD; AND THEIR EXPANSE IS DECLARING THE WORK OF HIS HANDS.” WITH THE NEW POWERFUL TELESCOPES THAT REVEAL THE UNIVERSE IS EXPANDING, THEY SHOULD BE IN AWE THAT THE BIBLE KNEW, “THAT YOU FORGOT THE LORD YOUR MAKER, WHO STRTCHED OUT THE HEAVENS” “BY HIS KNOWLEDGE.” (see 1 Peter 3:5; Romans 1:18,20,21,25; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Timothy 3:7; 1 Timothy 6:20; Psalm 19:1; Isaiah 51:13; and Jeremiah 51:15)
    In the final analysis, the entire “Theory” of evolution amounts to “empty chatter” as the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:20. Hunt tells us nobody has ever gotten the story of social wasp evolution right. Now he expects us to believe that he has?? My favorite insect is the white-faced hornet. How is it they have the perfect bodies and knowledge to do all the astonishing things they need to do to exist and thrive? When they build on the bottom of a 15-inch-in-diameter flat round transformer, connected to a telephone pole, the queen is able to find (or come very close) the exact center and initiate her nest there. Since for maximum speed in comb growth, they need to expand equally in all directions, the center is the most logical place to start. If not for these transformers, we’d never know they had this ability. To say that all of the incredibly complex information was encoded on the DNA without an encoder of incomprehensible knowledge and skill is certainly “empty chatter”!

    Reply
  4. Mike Riter   August 16, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Oh and by the way it’s “yellowjacket” not “yellow jacket” as UC Davis entomologist, Robbin W. Thorp will tell you, as will most college entomology professors, the scientists at the Smithsonian and The Entomological Society of America. See my “Bumblebee or Bumble Bee?/Poughkeepsie Journal” (search).

    Reply
  5. Mike Riter   August 16, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    There’s NO evidence for social insect evolution. Nor for solitary insect evolution. What a pathetic title including: “May Have”. If you can’t even tell whether or not ants and wasps have a common ancestor, it is certain that you don’t KNOW anything about their supposed evolution?? The ONLY logical explanation for the incredible bodies and abilities insects have is, “Extremely high intelligence”. There’s are no reasons why God couldn’t have created all insects basically the way they are; whereas there are many reasons why these ultra-extremely-complex animals could not exist without a Creator-God.

    Reply
  6. Frosty   July 12, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I enjoyed the content, but English must not have been the writer’s first language. I’d rate the writing at 4th grade level grammar and sentence structure.

    Reply

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