A human-sized ant would be stronger overall than a regular-sized ant, but it would be vastly weaker as when compared to its bodyweight. Even when scaled up, an ant’s body could not cope with being human-sized and it would likely be weaker than a human being.
With increasing size, the ant’s body weight would increase and its muscles would have to support their heavy body weight. Hence, their ability to lift heavier weights would decrease as they grow.
Ants are fascinating creatures with incredible strength. So many of us may think that a human-sized ant will possess gigantic strength. In this article, we’ll explore why ants are so strong for their size and why a human-sized ant wouldn’t be very strong.
Why are Ants so Strong for their Size?
It is believed that an ants neck joint that connects the head with the body has unique structural attributes which help them perfectly optimize the connection between their hard exoskeleton and soft internal soft tissues. This allows them to endure huge amounts of physical stress and heavy objects that would otherwise be too heavy.
This research found that ants have a very impressive mechanical system in place which allows them to lift objects many times their weight with relative ease.
The neck joint of the ants that connects its head and the body plays a vital role in lifting such heavy weights.
According to their estimations, at least theoretically, the neck joint of ants can support weight up to 5000 times their bodyweight!
Ants’ incredible strength allows them to eat and carry other animals and insects that are much larger than them.
Read More: What Other Insects do Ants Eat?
How Strong are Ants vs Humans?
As an animal gets bigger, they get stronger overall, but relative to their bodyweight, they get comparatively weaker. Thus, ants are weaker than humans overall, but are incredibly strong for their size.
Another fact that makes ants so strikingly strong is that their bodies are incredibly lightweight.
Hence, ants’ body muscles don’t have to engage in supporting their lightweight body in the first place. So those body muscles remain completely free for doing other stuff like lifting enormous amounts of weight with ease.
On the flip side, as our body weight is heavier, it allows us to lift items ants couldn’t dream of lifting.
Nevertheless, we cannot lift objects that are 50 times or 5000 times our body weight.
Overall, the muscles humans have in their body don’t have much strength left after supporting our large bodyweight, which further can be used for lifting objects a hundred times larger than our body weight.
Related Article: How Many Ants Die a Day?
What if Ants Became Human-Sized?
Even if somehow ants could become human-sized, the laws of physics would prevent them from lifting weights at the scale they previously could.
Even if ants theoretically became human-sized, they wouldn’t be able to lift objects that are 5000 times heavier than their human weight.
This is because the natural laws of physics disallow it. If their body size increased, their body weight would also increase and their muscles would have to support the weight of their new heavier body.
y becoming human-sized, ants would simply lose the advantage of having their muscles completely free which further allowed them to use the strength of all these muscles to lift those objects that were many times heavier than their body weight.
By becoming human-sized, the ant muscles will be only partially free so they may even fail to lift objects even at a scale the humans can lift because of the fact that their body structure, which used to work fine when they were smaller, are not at all suitable for handling such enormous weights.
In short, it may seem extraordinary that ants being such tiny creatures can lift such heavy weight, but it’s nothing abnormal in the world of physics.
It is nothing miraculous. It’s just the fact that the ants are small, which allows them to have more relative strength in comparison with a human however that doesn’t mean that they have more strength than that of a human being.
If humans were reduced to the size of an ant, as per the scaling law, we could possess the same level of power just like ants to lift weights that are hundreds of times our body weight with suitable ease, at least theoretically.
How Dangerous would a Human-Sized Ant Be?
A human-sized ant wouldn’t dangerous at all. Theoretically an ant’s body structure would be too weak to allow it to freely roam around if their bodyweight was increased to the size and weight of a human.
As per evolutionary mechanisms, certain aspects of our body structure change as our overall body weight, shape, and size increase or decrease.
So, if an ant suddenly grows large enough to be the size of a human being, its slender legs that were enough to support its lightweight body won’t be enough to support its current body weight and it would find it hard to stand.
They would have needed thicker and much stronger legs to support their massive body.
It is likely that a human-sized ant would be unable to move its body at all and hence wouldn’t be too dangerous.
Read More: Ant Mandibles Explained
How Fast Would an Ant be if it was Human Sized?
If an ant was human-sized, it would move much more slowly compared to its body size, as it would be much heavier and its body would be ill-suited to moving on a larger scale.
While at a small size they needed only a little amount of force to overcome gravity to move around freely, at a larger size it won’t be the same.
The body structure of the ant is not at all suited to move in the same way as it would have moved when it was small. The current body structure and adaptations of the ant make it possible for them to move around in the best possible way as suited for their small body weight.
Those same structures won’t be sufficient for moving their large-sized body in the same way.
Furthermore, the trachea that ants use to breathe in oxygen wouldn’t be strong enough to fulfill the enormous need for oxygen that its larger sized body would require.
So, a human-sized ant body would need some modifications to support its enormous size, which is what evolution does.
Evolution modifies the various body parts as well as bodily functions of an organism over time to best suit the needs of its survival in the environment.
However, in this case, as we are assuming that a tiny ant suddenly transforms into a human-sized ant, it is likely that the ant will barely be able to move with its weak and thin legs, and certainly couldn’t fly or scale walls.
Read More: How Do Ants Scale Walls?
The fact that a small ant can lift objects many times their own body weight leads us to assume that in plain hindsight that human-sized ant must be super strong.
But theoretically, it won’t be the case as by getting larger they will end up facing the similar kind of restrictions larger animals tend to face while lifting heavier weight. Being tiny helps them to overcome those barriers with relative ease.
As a result of which they end up looking relatively stronger than us humans but in reality, even if their neck joint gives them the option of lifting objects with 5000 times their body weight, they still are not anywhere near as strong as a humans.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.