# Thread: Humans and animals extremely weak compared to insects?

1. Why can insects lift things hundreds of times their own weight, and carry such weight over long distances. While humans and animals can barely lift anything their own weight for a few seconds?

What makes insects so superior to us?

Edit: Also if you drop an ant for examle, from 1 meter. It`ll keep going as if nothing happened. If you drop a person from a comperable size you would have to shovel his remains into the coffin.

2.

3. The third one is, firstly, terminal velocity. Drop a fish scale, then drop an avocado. And then humans unlike ants cannot walk decently with a few of our many legs dislocated.

4. Originally Posted by Raziell
Why can insects lift things hundreds of times their own weight, and carry such weight over long distances. While humans and animals can barely lift anything their own weight for a few seconds?

What makes insects so superior to us?

Edit: Also if you drop an ant for examle, from 1 meter. It`ll keep going as if nothing happened. If you drop a person from a comperable size you would have to shovel his remains into the coffin.
The world doesn't work in terms of x times your weight or size. You can't compare dropping an ant 1 meter to dropping a human several hundred meters. You compare it to dropping a human 1 meter. Even then, the difference in the masses of humans and ants doesn't really make the comparison fair. And maybe an ant can lift objects hundreds of times their weight, but a human can lift objects many thousands of times heavier than an ant. So ants have "superior" strength only in some vague relative terms, not in any absolute terms.

5. In space a human can also lift many times his own weight.

6. In space a human can also lift many times his own weight.
except that the human will have no weight, so this isn't really a huge achievement.

7. Do you know what the weight of an insect is? Good. Multiply that by a hundred, and I assure you, any human will be able to lift that much.

Edit: Also if you drop an ant for examle, from 1 meter. It`ll keep going as if nothing happened. If you drop a person from a comperable size you would have to shovel his remains into the coffin
Naturally. Don't forget, mass matters. The insect's mass is tiny, so it gets off scotch-free.

8. Yeah it's a totally different thing, scalewise.

Another example, if you're not convinced:

moving through water that totally submerges you, for you, isn't very hard despite peoples lack of ability to swim.

Scale down to something like a cladoceran, or water flea, and water is much harder to move through because it is 'apparently' less viscous.

9. Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
In space a human can also lift many times his own weight.
If an astronaut tried to move the space shuttle away from the space station by bracing himself against one of them and just pushing, well... I think that guys going to get a hernia. And I don't think anything is going to move.

10. If an Ant was the size of a Human it would be much stronger then any animal, probably be able to lift up cars with ease, but in compression, we are much stronger then ants.

The Reason a ant can survive such a far fall probably has to do with the fact that they have Exoskeletons as well as high Pain thresholds I would imagine, since you can rip off a Ants leg and it will continue on, which humans cant do because are Bodies are much more Complex and fragile, its the same reason Insects aren't affected by Radioactivity as easily as People. The LD(Lethal Dose) for Radiation for Humans is 1,000 Rads, in compression, a Cockroach is around 40,000 Rads, and Flour Beatles something like 100,000 Rads, this is because insects don't have complex Digestive Tract, which is where Radiation Poisoning occurs in humans, where the intestines Dissolve and you die almost instantly from a massive infection. By the same fact a Human may removing its Radiation, if below 400 Rads or so, by urinating, and hopefully Damaged DNA strains will repair correctly and Cancer will not occur.

11. from this point foreward I would suggest that beating a dead horse is not the best way to go

13. Originally Posted by TheBiologista
So ants have "superior" strength only in some vague relative terms, not in any absolute terms.
There is nothing vague about it. Without that relative advantage ants could not engage in the behaviour patterns that make them succesful.

14. Enlarge an ant to human size and it couldn't even lift an antenna.

15. for anyone who watches big bang theory. this quote seems relevant

raj "we could be the bengal tigers"

sheldon "poor choice, no creature exhibits a larger fighting force per pound than the army ant"

raj "maybe so, but you can't incinerate a bengal tiger with a magnifying glass"

16. Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
Enlarge an ant to human size and it couldn't even lift an antenna.
Could it lift a humanenna?

17. Originally Posted by John Galt
Originally Posted by TheBiologista
So ants have "superior" strength only in some vague relative terms, not in any absolute terms.
There is nothing vague about it. Without that relative advantage ants could not engage in the behaviour patterns that make them succesful.
Well what I mean is that we can call ant strength "superior" so long as we only think in relative terms such as multiples of body weight. It's a pretty ropey definition of superior in my view.

I will flog this dead horse until it is unrecognisable.

18. Originally Posted by TheBiologista
I will flog this dead horse until it is unrecognisable.
Do you think the ant could lift it then? :wink:

19. Originally Posted by John Galt
Originally Posted by TheBiologista
I will flog this dead horse until it is unrecognisable.
Do you think the ant could lift it then? :wink:
I think a million ants could lift the bits left over when I'm done with the excessive flogging.

20. Originally Posted by TheBiologista
Originally Posted by John Galt
Originally Posted by TheBiologista
I will flog this dead horse until it is unrecognisable.
Do you think the ant could lift it then? :wink:
I think a million ants could lift the bits left over when I'm done with the excessive flogging.
A million ants weigh about the same as a human, no? So a mass of ants equal in weigh to that of a human can carry a mass of minced horse meat equal in weight to that of a horse. Question answered! :P

21. Thanks for the replies guys, makes abit more sense now

22. I have squished many insects in my life. I have yet to be squished by an insect. In light of this revelation, lets reexamine the question of who is the strong and who is the weak.

I have squished many insects in my life. I have yet to be squished by an insect. In light of this revelation, lets reexamine the question of who is the strong and who is the weak.
But the day your squished by an insect will be the up most of irony!

24. i've noticed that there are some small guys at the gym who can bench press and squat more than people twice there size. For example, I've seen a tall, relatively normal looking guy who weighs 185 bench press 315 x 9, and a 215 pound bodybuilder lift the same or slightly less or more. Granted, many people arch their backs and strain when lifting and some push with their legs, but I'm talking legitimate lifts. My personal best is 360 x 3 @ 190. I am 5'4 and have broad shoulders and look like a bodybuilder when I lose weight but what about the other guys who look more like they were built to be swimmers or baseball players...? How can some of them lift such massive weight?

25. Humans and animals are extremely weak to animals??

Insects ARE animals. Logic does not computer when you say this. That is exacly like saying..

Y != Y

26. Y=1??
Y=2???

27. Originally Posted by verzen
Humans and animals are extremely weak to animals??

Insects ARE animals. Logic does not computer when you say this. That is exacly like saying..
Humans are also animals.

28. I know this, but by saying humans and animals are completely weak compared to insects (which are animals in the first place) is saying that insects are weak compared to insects. (Depending on the type of insect, this may be true..) but without actual description to compare it to then it's kind of a dubious question.

29. "The strength of any muscle depends on the number of fibers, just as the strength of a rope depends on the number of fibers. In both cases, strength is proportional to the cross-sectional area; if you want to see how many fibers make up a rope, you had better cut that rope- it's strength depends on its diameter, not its length. On the other hand, the weight of the rope depends on length as well as diameter. A rope that is 1 cm in diameter and 20 meters long is the same strength, but half the weight, of as a rope that is 1 cm in diameter and 40 meters long. Muscle strength is the same: it depends on the cross-sectioal area, and so rises with the square of the dimensions, whereas the weight of the animal rises with the cube. This means that even if every muscle cell were to operate with the same power, the strength of the muscle as a whole could at best increase with mass to the power of 2/3. This is why ants lift twigs hundreds of times their own weight, whereas we can barely lift our own weight."

-Nick Lane, Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life

pg. # 170

30. Cant' argue with that.

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