WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Honey bees are found by a new study to be able to perform simple addition and subtraction problems at a degree that toddlers can’t.
- In the study, the bees were trained repeatedly in a maze where they had to complete a task involving the mathematical operations.
- Outcomes showed that the bees were able to retain information and choose correct answers from 60 to 75 percent of the time.
If you’re struggling with simple math problems, go ask a bee rather than a mathematician.
In a new study, researchers have found that Honey Bees are able to comprehend simple addition and subtraction problems at levels that an average 4-year-old would find difficult.
“We show that with a miniature brain, honeybees can learn to use blue and yellow as symbolic representations for addition or subtraction. Individual bees used this information in a free-flying environment, to solve unfamiliar problems involving adding or subtracting one element from a group of elements,” according to the abstract of the study.
The study made use of fourteen honeybees which were made to enter a maze that contained one to 5 shapes in colors of blues and yellows. Each bee was given the choice to fly left or right and complete a simple task. They had to add an element if the shapes were blue, and subtract if they were yellow. Depending on the outcome, they were rewarded with water containing sucrose, and punished by being given water with the bitter-tasting quinine.
LiveScience reported that the bees were repeatedly trained for 4 to 7 hours to determine if the bees retained the information. Between 60 and 75 percent of the time, the bees were able to choose correctly, according to the news outlet.
Bees being able to do simple math may be the result of evolution, says Adrian Dyer, one of the study’s author. Their ability to process and understand the information around them may be possibility a result of gaining additional “neuroplasticity” in their brain neurons as they go from flower to flower.
While the average human has an estimated 86 billion neurons, LiveScience said that insects have less than 1 million neurons.
The next step for the researchers is to check if bees can perform more complex equations including adding a third input to the equation.
The research has been published in Science Advances.
Source: Fox News