The most common experience every people on Earth have with animals is with an ant. There are plenty of people around the world who have never seen a cat, dog, bee or snake. However, it is hard to meet someone who has never played with some ants once or twice. Interacting with ants is an experience that is common to all of us.
When observing an ant walking across our palm, we can find these basic facts:
Firstly, an ant moves its antenna to find out what is happening.
Secondly, an ant goes any where it can go.
Thirdly, if you block the path of an ant, the ant crawls on top of that hand.
Lastly, if you draw a line in front of ant with a wet finger, you can stop it in its tracks. The ant hesitates as if there is an invisible wall and eventually goes around it.
There is no one that does not know these facts. But this basic, childish knowledge that is shared between us and our ancestors is never used in our lives. Schools do not teach it as it has no practical use in finding a job. What we learn in school about ants is simply boring. Who would honestly find memorising the various parts of an ant’s anatomy fascinating?
(from The Encyclopaedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge by Bernard Werber)