Scientists Calculated That About 20 Quadrillion Ants Are Roaming Earth Right Now

By: | September 26th, 2022

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Have you ever wondered how many Ants live on Earth?

It seems impossible to get an answer to this question. However, German researchers through intensive and extensive data analysis have come up with an answer. Not only this, but they have also calculated how much they all weigh combined.

In order to do this calculation, scientists, from Julius Maximilians University (JMU) consulted 489 scientific studies discussing the matter, covering all continents, major habitats, and biomes on Earth. 

As a result, they finally came up with an approximate answer. According to a paper published in the journal PNAS, our planet harbors about 20 quadrillion ants. That’s 20 thousand million millions, or in numerical form, 20,000,000,000,000,000 (20 with 15 zeroes).

Moreover, researchers also estimated the weight of all these ants. Researchers estimated that it is about 12 million tons. Scientists found that the weight of all ants is more than the total mass of all wild birds and mammals combined (except humans). 

Scientists also discovered how these ants are distributed on Earth’s surface

Researchers discovered that they vary sixfold between habitats and generally peak in the tropics. They also found that abundance of ants are in forests, and even in arid regions. But their population is lesser in urban environments. 

This study was not just focused on doing these calculations

As we all know, ants play an important role in maintaining our ecosystem’s delicate balance. So with this study, researchers wanted to understand their distribution and how they might be affected by climate change.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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