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Restless Creatures: The Story of Life in Ten Movements by Matt Wilkinson

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10

Locomotive Souls

In which we learn how motion is good for the mind

                   Now shall I walk

                   Or shall I ride?

                   “Ride,” Pleasure said;

                   “Walk,” Joy replied.

—W. H. Davies, The Best Friend

The first sign that something’s wrong is an uncharacteristic solitary wandering. For most insects this would be perfectly normal, but for a worker carpenter ant, such antisocial behavior is bizarre in the extreme. Taking leave of its colony high in the rain forest canopy, it strikes out from the well-beaten foraging trails and meanders aimlessly from leaf to leaf. Suddenly, its body is racked with convulsions and it loses its grip, plummeting to the forest floor far below. Ants being resilient ...

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