You may often find your self wondering: Are there more ants or leaves in the world?

Here is the answer:

EO Wilson , a noted Harvard biologist and expert on ants, estimates that the number of ants in the world is between ten to the sixteenth and ten to the seventeen or: 100,000,000,000,000,000 ants Forests represent a third of the earth's land. On average they can support 200 trees per acre. 9.8 billion acres of forest in the world. (1995 estimate)

9,800,000,000 acres of forest X 200 trees/acre = 1,960,000,000,000 trees

The number of leaves per a tree varies widely. Most trees are pines with thousands of leaves. Some only have hundreds. let's use 1500 (low thousands) as a high estimate.
Thus we have:
294,000,000,000,000 leaves


100,000,000,000,000,000 ants

or around 340 ants per leaf.
In recent years the number of trees has fallen sharply due to clearcutting. The number of trees per acre and the number of forest ares I used were high. Even if we used a higher number of leaves like 7000 (the number found on the largest pine trees) the number of leaves would still fall far short of the many many ants in the world. Ants win hands down by two orders of magnitude.

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