Why Is This Ant Throwing Another Ant Off a Ledge?

Well, someone shouldn't have eaten food from the fridge that wasn't theirs, huh, Gary?! This viral video of an ant throwing another ant off a table has garnered plenty of attention for the low-key, matter-of-fact way the throwing ant disposes of the other ant. The Twitter Moment dedicated to the video actually refers to it as a "savage" recreation of Disney's "The Lion King." (Sometimes you're Mufasa; sometimes you're Scar.)

But it's neither savage nor some sort of ant kingdom coup or an office lunch room scene gone seriously grimdark. It's actually (probably) one ant doing its best to keep its colony healthy and safe.

A 2014 study published in the journal Biology Letters found that ants that didn't remove corpses from their colonies had a 13 percent mortality rate compared to the 6 percent rate for colonies that were allowed to bring out their dead. Scientists couldn't determine why the morality rate jumped, but theorized that dead ants "increased the occurrence of microorganisms, requiring a greater investment in the immune system for live ants and possibly resulting in a reduced lifespan."

Keeping the colony safe from the dead isn't the only reason, however. A different 2014 study, this one published in Insectes Sociaux, found that 42 percent of the workers of the Malagidris sofina species in Madagascar would grab an invader ant and then jump off a cliff with the invader to get it out of the colony.

So if you ever see an ant throwing another ant, just know it's doing it for the greater good.