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Questions on the Ethics of Triage, Posed by a Sub-Saharan Ant

an image of an anthill

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In a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, behavioral ecologist Erik Frank at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and his colleagues discuss their findings that a species of sub-Saharan ants bring their wounded hive-mates back to the colony after a termite hunt. This practice of not leaving wounded ants behind is noteworthy on its own, but Frank and fellow behavioral ecologists note that the Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) engage in triage judgments to determine which injured ants are worth or possible to save–not all living wounded are brought back to the nest for treatment.

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Tragedy of the Commons in Cape Town’s Water Crisis

Cape Town, South Africa is running out of water. In less than 90 days, the city’s reservoirs will be so dry that the water in them will be too silty to be usable. This will be the first time that a major city will run out of water, and the world is watching the city’s attempts to delay what has seemed inevitable for months. Cape Town has faced three years of drought that climatologists have called a “once in a millennium” phenomenon, which, paired with the rapid increase in population, has led to a dire and record-breaking situation.

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