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February 21 , 2008

The Soul of the White Ant


"A new edition of this important work which was first published in 1937 and which was the result of Marais’s ten year study of the habits of termites, or white ants. In his fascinating investigations into the psyche of the ants, their strangely rich inherited memory of instinct, Marais makes challenging assertions about the group soul of the termite colony – the cause and result of the termites’ ceaseless, automatic activity for their community. His extraordinary theory is that the termite colony is, in fact, a separate composite animal at a certain stage of its development. The queen, emanating from her secret chamber the mystical motivating and unifying power for the community, is the brain, while the soldiers, workers and flying termites perform the vital functions of the body, and the remarkable fungoid gardens provide the digestive system. The Soul of the White Ant is an absorbing and exciting study of an astonishing insect capable of building, grain by grain, an earth structure weighing 11,750 tons. "

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