Ulrich Mueller and Leafcutter Ants: A Story of Co-Evolution

Posted on in Integrative Biology

Ulrich Mueller visits leafcutter ant colonies at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory and reflects on what fascinates him about the ants and their co-evolutionary relationship to the fungus species they farm.

Mueller, a professor of integrative biology in the College of Natural Sciences, has spent most of his professional life delving deep into the evolutionary history of leafcutter ants, a species that evolved the ability to cultivate crops tens of millions of years before humans developed agriculture. 

Daniel J Oppenheimer

Dan was publications editor for the College of Natural Sciences from 2006-2013. He is now communications manager for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.


  • Guest
    Fred Thompson Thursday, November 07, 2013

    Such a waste of time and mental energy spent on fighting the straw men out there who believe in creation. Most of us can get along with both Creation and Evolution. Amazed this thing is still going on.
    Fred Thompson '62 Zoology

  • Guest
    Al kIdd Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    The behaviors of the leafcutter ant are not learned, but are result of programmed instinct. It is uttermost naiveté in naturalists who ignore evidence of an Intelligence at work in these behaviors, but instead they attribute it all to blind, purposeless, non-teleologically driven trial-and-error formations/re-formations of bio-molecular structures that finally were able to ground the leafcutter ants' tremendously sophisticated behaviors that we observe. Another "Just-so story" behind which is nothing more than a fatuous use of evolutionistic jargon completely devoid of anything that would cause me to exclaim "Eureka! I finally hear an evolutionist give us here an example of the reasonableness for their scientistic [sic] paradigm they use to explain why Reality is the way it is!"

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