The ants read Tennyson

Via Andrew Sullivan, here’s evidence that ants read Tennyson’s “Ulysses” (1842 [1833]):

WORKER ants accurately gauge their life expectancy, regardless of their actual age, and take on riskier tasks as they feel their days ebbing away.

Here’re the relevant lines from Tennyson:

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breath were life.

. . .

Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

Who would’ve thought that the mighty Ulysses and the worker ant are cousins?

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