(Mirror Daily, United States) A new study shows remarkable findings in bumblebees intelligence. The tiny insects were put to the test by British scientists, and their experiments showed that the bees are able to learn skills. Researchers used a common method when it comes to testing cognitive skills, namely pulling a string.
A team of British scientists was highly interested in the domain of bumblebee intelligence. They decided to use a method which has been used with other animals before. However, the test of pulling a string was first used with insects in this bumblebee research.
What the scientists did was to take some bumblebee individuals to their laboratories. Here, they instructed the insects in using a string in order to gather food. The researchers themselves couldn’t believe it when they saw the first bee accomplish the task successfully.
The study raised an interesting question about bumblebees behavior, as well as that of other species. The scientists are interested in figuring out whether rewards can determine animals to act in different ways than the way they naturally do. Another of the specialists’ aim is to find out if bees or other species would teach young individuals to use those skills.
Researchers are amazed by the fact that they have obtained such good results with bees. Although the insects have tiny brains, they proved themselves able to accomplish the task of pulling a string. The specialists explain that first, they had to train them. The program included increasing the distance between bees and the fake flower sprinkled with a sweet substance.
What was even more surprising is that after the first bees started to master the technique of using the string, other bees in their group began to show improvement too. This leads researchers to believe that bumblebees observed the experience, then copied and used it.
The team of researchers is also concerned with linking the findings of this study to human evolution. They think that humans might have developed skills in the same way. In other words, they have accidentally used tools and observed their efficiency. This made them repeat the experience because they had benefits for it.
However, further research in human evolution is required. For the time being, the British researchers are impressed by how bumblebees succeeded in using tools, and they are pleased with the results.
The new study accounting for the intelligence of bumblebees was published in PLOS Biology, on October 4.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia
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