A harvester ant colony has a life cycle of about fifteen years - it is born, matures, and dies. But the individual ants that inhabit the colony live only one year. How does this system of tunnels and caves in the dirt become so much more than the sum of its parts? Ant researcher Deborah Gordon takes the reader into the Arizona desert on a pioneering quest to explore this question. The answer involves the emerging insights of the new science of complexity and contributes to our understanding of the evolution of life itself.