I was watching a television program recently about Naked Mole Rats and how they are they are one of the only known Eusocial mammals. They have a single queen who produces offspring as well as warriors and worker castes (the most well known example is an ant colony).

This got me thinking could humans (or at least human like creatures) ever live in a similar society?

The obvious problem I see would be the gestation period, if the queen has a nine month pregnancy then there will be a far lower birth rate than the moles. How could humans develop a similar society to ants or mole rats?

  • $\begingroup$ If you'll notice in history, there have been lots of queens, Warriors, and workers. You might want to elaborate on what you mean by that. As this stands, it seems unclear what kind of a society you're talking about. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon is that better? $\endgroup$
    – Liath
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ This might be too broad. What, in your opinion, defines a human? What level of technology/culture would be the starting point? Do you accept societal changes, evolutionary changes, psychological changes? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ I think I agree with @nigel222 that there should be a king, since it would be a lot easier for things to happen... $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 5:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Tangentially related: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/34922/… good to see you Liath. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 17:03

2 Answers 2


Yes, definitely.

The biggest change as you've already identified is pregnancy. It's noticable that the main eusocial species are egg layers which means the investment by each queen in each young is lower. Naked mole rats are the exception and in the wild they produce litters with an average size of 11 around once a year. That's a lot of babies for a human to produce but with 4 month pregnancies and multiple births of 4 or 5 at a time it would be reachable. Considering human babies have survived being born 6 months old or even younger it's clearly possible if they were adapted for that.

The queen would have much shorter pregnancy cycles and most likely multiple births as well. The babies would then be handed off to special nursemaid drones who care for, feed, and raise the young until they are old enough to take whatever role they were bred for.

Society would be very stratified and have a reduced sense of self - the average member would value your colony far more than yourself and they would quite literally be bred for certain things.

Warriors, Nursemaids, Workers would all be born adapted to that role and raised to fulfill that role. No doubt occasional ones would move against that but it would be rare, even with sentience.

Whether the queen is the main thinker of the colony could be true but in fact is unlikely to be, there would most likely be a "thinker" type to go with all the others.


It might be politically incorrect, but what about a king rather than a queen? There's no physical problem for a man with a harem creating babies at a high rate.

It was might equals right rather than altered human nature, but ISTR one of the mesoamerican cultures worked this way. All female children belonged to the king. All male children were raised as warriors. Successful warriors were rewarded by the king with a wife, or for greater success, wives.


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