Why/how can ants carry things many times their own mass?
Because their brains are too damn tiny to allow them to know better.
'Cos he’s got… hi-igh hopes, he’s got… hi-igh hopes, he’s got… high ap-ple pie in the sky-y hopes…
Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!
Whoops there goes another rubber tree plant!
To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.
You will find many small creatures can carry many times their own mass. This is mostly due to the fact that many times their own mass is still very light. An ant the size of a human would not be able to pick itself up, much less anything else. Muscle strength has in part to do with volume and density. A human muscle cell is just as strong as an ant muscle cell, but on the ant, the cells are dealing with smaller proportions (Actually, the ant muscle cell might be a bit stronger, but that is more a factor of the fact that an ant can burn out its muscle cells, the ant after all is disposable.) When you blow things up to human scale you find that the strength of the individual cell becomes less a part of the total strength due to volume changes, so the human appears weaker, but if you were to blow an ant up to human size, it would have trouble carrying its carapace around, much less something five times its own weight. There is an article I will try to find that explains this in much better detail than I could, was on why Mothra/Them/Other 50’s horror flicks couldn’t occur.
>>while contemplating the navel of the universe, I wondered, is it an innie or outie?<<
—The dragon observes
I’d imagine it’s less weight than that before the any gives up. I remember reading that those prehistoric cockroaches died out partly because they got too large (about three feet long) and the weight of their shell would crush them before they could mature fully. Of course, this is cockroaches and not ants, but I assume ants can’t get much larger. Actually, I’d think they couldn’t even get as large since cockroaches carry themselves lower and scuttle on their bellies and ants run around tall and proud.
“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”