What's that? You're sitting at home with the shades drawn staring at a screen while the faint sounds of children playing bounce off your fire escape? Well hey, how about you learn about ants instead: were you aware that New York City has its own distinct species of ant? It does! And it doesn't get invited to cookouts either!
Rob Dunn, a professor at NC State, discovered the ant while teaching at Columbia earlier this year. “At first, we were flying to the tropics to study life,” he told the Post. “But then I thought: What if we look right in front of the building?” Lo, at 63rd and Broadway, an ant species was discovered: “It’s new to North America, and we believe it’s new to the entire world."
The ant (which hasn't been named yet and the Post dubs the "ManhattAnt," which prompted a series of tiny groans emanating from the city's sidewalks) possibly evolved to live in a drier, warner environment—or it could have been a stowaway on a ship from another continent. New York is actually a diverse locale for ants, as at least 13 different species thrive here.
Dunn is studying the diet of urban ants, and notes that they contain higher levels of carbon in their bodies because their diet is overly rich in corn syrup: “We’re looking to get a sense of whether the diets of urban ants are as crappy as the diets of urban humans." If squirrels are any indication, we're going to say yes.