Bees Learn To Play Football

Posted: Feb 24 2017, 7:03am CST | by , Updated: Feb 24 2017, 7:16am CST, in News | Latest Science News

Bees Learn to Play Football
Bee holding a mini-ball Credit: Iida Loukola/ Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
  • Bumble Bees show Capacity for Creativity and Goal-Directed Behavior

Researchers have seen that bumble bees show a remarkable capacity for both creativity and goal-directed behavior.

Bumble bees have been trained by scientists to score goals using a tiny ball in the lab. This study revealed their extraordinary learning abilities. The study was published in the journal Science.

This shows that species who have to face novel conditions may bear the pressure and adapt in order to survive. This study refutes previous evidence that insects have a limited behavioral repertoire due to their small-sized brains. Insects are not as simple as they were supposed to be by the experts. Watch the bumble bees play football below.

The power of planning and forethought that bumble bees showed proves that they are capable of complex tasks. When they were forced to accomplish a goal that was not a part of their natural abilities, they gave ample proof of the art of improvisation.

The bees didn’t have this behavior as an element of their evolutionary past. Yet they achieved the impossible thereby showing it to be possible.

The bees were made to force a small ball to a certain area in order to receive a pellet of food. They were trained to accomplish this task. In order to allow the bees to learn the technique, they were presented with three scenarios.

One involved watching a bee that had already been trained, perform the goal scoring with the small ball. Another had a magnet move the ball to train them thoroughly in this technique.

A third group received no training and did the whole task on its own initiative. Those bees which saw the trained bee handle the ball learnt the technique in the best manner. This was followed by the ghost demonstration group and the untrained sample.

The bees that learnt by example from previously trained bees did not just imitate the novel behavior. These clever creatures in fact improved upon it. It was clearly a case of one-upmanship.

This evinces the fact that bees are not dumb by any means but pretty smart little critters that can innovate and apply creative strategies to a number of situations at hand. The agility and adaptability of these bumble bees was impressive indeed.

While the bees didn’t possess such skills as a part of their instinctual tool-kit, they had the acumen to mold themselves in accordance with difficult or constraining circumstances presented by their environment.

Joint lead author Dr Olli J. Loukola, said: "The bees solved the task in a different way than what was demonstrated, suggesting that observer bees did not simply copy what they saw, but improved on it. This shows an impressive amount of cognitive flexibility, especially for an insect."

Dr Loukola added: "It may be that bumblebees, along with many other animals, have the cognitive capabilities to solve such complex tasks, but will only do so if environmental pressures are applied to necessitate such behaviors.”

Watch Queen Mary's Professor Chittka talk about about his research on bees.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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