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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    confused Why ant gather nails?

    So, I've observed several times ants carrying around clipped nails and soetimes also scraped skin.From googling I found similiar anecdotes form other people, so this is a common behavior. But what for?? Nails are from keratin which only several insects and the list doesn't include ants, or at least I've found nothign that said that insect can digest it. Anybody have any idea?

    Even now I have a lot ants crowding around some near my PC from hours ago. The piece is too big to carry around I guess. I let it be to obseve them. Ant-watching is quite fun

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Genetic engineering, obviously. Duh.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    I've never seen such behaviour in ants before, but I'm putting that down to different species.
    However, many varieties of ants have unusual methods of producing food for their colonies which including the raising of other insects and fungi. But that probably doesn't help at all.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    The chemicals in the fingernails probably just give a false cue that reminds them of something else that is edible to them. That would be my first thought, anyway.

    Ants are fun to watch, yes.
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    So the song runs on, with shift and change,
    Through the years that have no name,
    And the late notes soar to a higher range,
    But the theme is still the same.
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    Blend in with the old, old rhyme
    That was traced in the score of the strata marks
    While millenniums winked like campfire sparks
    Down the winds of unguessed time. -- 4th Stanza, The Bad Lands, Badger Clark

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    'tough as nails'

    They use 'em for their fortifications.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    maybe some species of ant do like having keratin around?
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    How are they supposed to tailor their bioweapons if they don't have a sample of your DNA?
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    They practice voodoo, obviously

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    How are they supposed to tailor their bioweapons if they don't have a sample of your DNA?
    Nails don't contain DNA

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    They tile hundreds of nail clippings to produce armor for their prototype giant robots.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Salbazier View Post
    Nails don't contain DNA
    Have you ever seen an ant who studied genetics?
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    An Enemy Spy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    They are attempting to create an artificial human so they can infiltrate the world of man. All of our leaders are actually thousands of ants swarming inside a human skinsuit.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    They gather nail clippings for the ship Naglfar, which will rise from the depths of Hel when Ragnarök comes.
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    Oooh, and that's a bad miss.

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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Miniature Giant Space Hamster in the Playground Administrator
     
    Rawhide's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Or perhaps they just want stuff attached to the nails, like dead skin.

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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    LaZodiac's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    It's probably the dead skin thing, but I do think they could also, realistically, be using it for building structures.


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  16. - Top - End - #16
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Or they worship you as a god, and are gathering your castoffs for exhibition in their shrine chamber...
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Are you secretly a celebrity? Maybe they're planning to sell the nails over the internet.
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    Well you've got two options - you can either wait for life to throw you a bone, or you can make your own by tearing it out of Life's quivering body, with your bare teeth and nails in a frenzied bloodied act of cannibalism.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Quote Originally Posted by An Enemy Spy View Post
    They are attempting to create an artificial human so they can infiltrate the world of man. All of our leaders are actually thousands of ants swarming inside a human skinsuit.
    That would explain a lot, actually.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post
    They gather nail clippings for the ship Naglfar, which will rise from the depths of Hel when Ragnarök comes.
    Wait, that's actually a thing? Huh, interesting.
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  20. - Top - End - #20
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Weird, maybe they use it as decoration inside their nests?
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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Or they worship you as a god, and are gathering your castoffs for exhibition in their shrine chamber...
    They are building you. In a nest. With a bunch of scraps!
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    Pokonic look what you have done! You fool, you`ve doomed us all!
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    If you have athlete's foot, they probably want the fungus.
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  23. - Top - End - #23
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Whiffet View Post
    Are you secretly a celebrity? Maybe they're planning to sell the nails over the internet.
    Don't you mean the Anternet?

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Nails are keratin. Keratin is solid protein. Protein is a decent energy source (4 calories per gram) and contains some essential amino acids most animals can't synthesize for themselves. Also, nail clippings tend to keep well in the absence of some kinds of fungi.

    They probably want to eat it, and their desire to do so isn't a mistake. Ants have been living in and around human civilizations for thousands of generations, I think they probably know which parts of us are edible when the opportunity arises.
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    My motto: Repensum Est Canicula.

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  25. - Top - End - #25
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
    Nails are keratin. Keratin is solid protein. Protein is a decent energy source (4 calories per gram) and contains some essential amino acids most animals can't synthesize for themselves. Also, nail clippings tend to keep well in the absence of some kinds of fungi.

    They probably want to eat it, and their desire to do so isn't a mistake. Ants have been living in and around human civilizations for thousands of generations, I think they probably know which parts of us are edible when the opportunity arises.
    Men, Women, Gentlemen and Ladies, I apologize but I must ask this, why do Ants eat my snot sometimes? :/

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Dark Elf Bard's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Congratulations!


    You've created the weirdest thread ever!
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    This is the thief who likes to hoard,
    That loves the bard with the puppet Lord
    That admires the fighter with the green-hilted sword,
    That employs the Wizard, whose bird is ignored,
    That has the gender unexplored
    That intrigues the Halfling, usually bored,
    That slew a mountain of the goblin horde,
    That follows the cleric,
    That serves the lich,
    That seeks the gate,
    That guards the snarl,
    That lives in the prison the gods built.


    guess what I was gone but now I'm back

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Crow's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Am I the only one wondering why people have nail clippings laying around their dwellings? You people are filthy.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Telonius's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    You've stumbled across Dr. Hymenopterus's latest financing scheme. Using his ant-control laser, he's sending out his minions to harvest the nail clippings of the world, and extract the gold. Normally this would take a really long time (2 billion toenails for one gram of gold). But with trillions of minions doing the work for him, he'll have a steady supply.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    TheLaughingMan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Now now, let's not get silly. Ants can't utilizing genetic engineering. They are clearly amassing a surplus of razor-sharp melee weapons with which to conquer all sentient life. No one's gonna stop them from stealing all the pick-a-nick baskets once they've got three hundred tiny daggers lodged in our throats.
    Last edited by TheLaughingMan; 2012-07-22 at 10:28 PM.
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  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
     
    golentan's Avatar

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    Default Re: Why ant gather nails?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLaughingMan View Post
    Now now, let's not get silly. Ants can't utilizing genetic engineering. They are clearly amassing a surplus of razor-sharp melee weapons with which to conquer all sentient life. No one's gonna stop them from stealing all the pick-a-nick baskets once they've got three hundred tiny daggers lodged in our throats.
    Nah. They don't need it: they already outweigh us in a sheer biomass scale, and they've got enough formic acid amassed to kill every man, woman, and child on earth.

    I believe they are trying to gather the keratin in order to carve it into pretty little tchotchkes for their grubs, and tell them campfire stories about the time the hive killed a giant and took its claws.
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    My motto: Repensum Est Canicula.

    Quote Originally Posted by turkishproverb View Post
    I am not getting into a shootout with Golentan. Too many gun-arms.
    Leiningen will win, even if he must lose in the attempt.

    Credit to Astrella for the new party avatar.

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