Most likely scenario


A last look

Who’s going to volunteer to starve to save the animals of Central Africa?


RIM BlackBerry – made in Canada

BlackBerry Pearl from Waterloo, Ontario

The new BlackBerry Pearl from Waterloo, Ontario

Research In Motion (RIM) is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market.

Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, text messaging (SMS and MMS), Internet and intranet-based applications.

RIM was founded in 1984 by Mihal (Mike) Lazaridis, Michael Barnstijn, and Douglas Fregin. They launched RIM with a $15,000 loan from Mike’s parents, a small government grant and a contract from General Motors. Ten years later, some of RIM’s early development was financed by Canadian institutional and venture capital investors.

New subfamily of primitive ant

A primitive ant discovered in Brazil is called “the most primitive living subfamily yet.”

The new ant, Martialis heureka, lives underground in a relatively stable environment. The ant is blind, but predatory and has long, curved mandibles. It has primitive characteristics inherited from the earliest ant ancestors. It also has adaptations to its underground life, such as pale colour and lack of eyes. DNA analysis confirms that it comes from the very base of the ant phylogeny. The ant is known from a single specimen discovered in 2003.


University of Texas at Austin (2008, September 16). New Ant Species Discovered In The Amazon Likely Represents Oldest Living Lineage Of Ants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2008, from­ /releases/2008/09/080915174538.htm

Photo credit: Christian Rabeling, the University of Texas at Austin.

UPDATE: Zooillogix has <a href=””>the story and some interesting comments</a>.

In search of ant ancestry

The announcement of a new, primitive ant said

This new species of blind, subterranean, predatory ant, Martialis heureka, was discovered in the Amazon by Christian Rabeling at the University of Texas at Austin. It belongs to the first new subfamily of living ants discovered since 1923, and is a descendant of one of the first ant lineages to evolve over 120 million years ago.

I wondered if Martialis heureka’s title of “most primitive” took into account the Australian ant Nothomyrmecia macrops, previous holder of the title. I think it does, because the subfamily of N. macrops was already known from the Australian bulldog ant.

As I searched for answers, I found a nice summary of ants’ ecological importance and evolution.

  • Ants form 15%-25% of the multicellular animal biomass in many ecologies.
  • They are eusocial–hive animals–like bees and some wasps.
  • Ants are stinging wasps (the way we are apes).
  • They evolved about 90 million – 115 million years ago .
  • True ants have a metapleural gland that secretes antibiotics.
%d bloggers like this: