(a) Colony members of the black carpenter ant Camponotus pennsylvanicus are confined to a porous boundary made out of Agarose. The boundary is represented by its radius ( - polar angle, - time). Bottom part shows the side-view schematic of the experimental set-up with the boundary made of agarose and background IR light source used to image the ants in the dark. (b) Temporal progression of excavation experiments as 12 ants cooperatively tunnel through the agarose confinement. The white line is the tracked location of the inner wall which grows in size as the excavation progresses. (c) Confinement area as a function of time (scaled by time to excavate out of the corral ), normalized by initial circular confinement with radius . (d) Evolution of the orientation distribution of the ant density, obtained by averaging along the radial direction. Ants start from an initially isotropic state and localize at an angle along the boundary. here is the excavation time. (e) Dynamics of the radial distribution of ant density as a function of radial distance, obtained by averaging a sector of around the excavation site. We see that the ant density front propagates through the corral. The density is plotted for the same times as in (f) Evolution of the power spectrum of first five Fourier modes capturing the number of tunnels formed during excavation . Inset shows the real part of the Fourier coefficient, at different time instants indicating that many modes are present in the boundary shape.