GOLDEN ANTS

ON THE TRAIL OF HERODOTUS' FURRY, ORE-LOVING INSECTS

For more than 2,500 years, historians have been intrigued by Herodotus' tale of large furry ants that enriched the Persian empire by burrowing for gold. Herodotus' story of "ants bigger than foxes but smaller than dogs" inspired generations of treasure hunters and explorers--going back to Alexander the Great. In the absence of proof, some classical scholars concluded that the man many call the father of history was at best gullible and at worst a liar.

Now it appears he may have been right--or largely so. Recently returned from a Himalayan expedition, French explorer-anthropologist Michel Peissel and British photographer Sebastian Guinness say...

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