The next time you’re procrastinating on Facebook or zoning out in front of the TV, you shouldn’t feel bad – you may be exhibiting an evolved and adaptive behavior. After tracking the activity of 250 ants in 5 different colonies over 3 weeks, researchers found that almost half of them weren’t doing much of anything.
When the team realized that the ants’ inactivity was not because of differences in circadian rhythms or ant workers taking breaks, they concluded that laziness was a “specialization” for some ants, just like being a forager or a nest builder.
There are a few theories. Lazy ants could simply be waiting in reserve, ready to pitch in for extra work. They may be performing other functions like relaying information, storing food, or laying eggs.
Or they could have a higher threshold at which they’ll become active.
“An example from the human world is a roommate that has a high threshold for washing dirty dishes, while you have a low one,” Charbonneau. The dishes will start to pile up, and you’ll end up being the one that does them.”
More about how to be a terrible roommate at the source below.
Source University of Arizona