It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Ted Schultz, an entomologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, thinks that sprout cultivation could be important to the worms’ survival, and that this is a sophisticated adaptation because they must wait to harvest the food rather than consuming it immediately.
“The behaviour will likely be favoured by evolution, and future generations of ragworms will also store seeds and reap the deferred benefits,” he says. “It’s the beginning of agriculture.”
Ragworms are not the first animals to take up farming. Some beetles, termites and ants have cultivated fungus since long before humans started growing crops. And there are likely to be further examples: Zhu and his team think the ragworms may be cultivating bacteria in their burrows as a source of food, too.
The researchers also suspect that earthworms could be sprout-growers, because they are thought to supplement their diets with seeds. “They have similar problems finding high-quality food,” says Zhu.