Friday, 5 April 2013

Surprisingly Simple Logic Explains Amazing Bee Abilities

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 04 April 2013 Time: 12:00 PM ET

Bumblebees and Pavlov's dogs have something in common: Both can learn to associate two things they've never seen together before.

A new study finds that bees use simple logical steps to learn from other bees which flowers hold the sweetest nectar.

"It really gives us an insight into how complex social-learning behaviors can arise in animals," said study researcher Erika Dawson, a doctoral student at Queen Mary University of London.

Scientists have long observed that bees copy other bees when learning the best spots to forage. Just by watching another bee forage through a screen, a bumblebee could go on to pick the sweetest flowers on its own, Dawson said.

"It was such a complex behavior for a little bee to perform, and that's why we thought there might be something a lot more simple behind what we were seeing," she said.

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