I just love stories that show that the world of bees is unexplainable, beyond individual intelligence and that even to the most brainiest of scientists can’t explain how they do it!
Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London and Royal Holloway, University of London have discovered that bees learn to fly the shortest possible route between flowers even if they discover the flowers in a different order. Bees are effectively solving the ‘Travelling Salesman Problem’, and these are the first animals found to do this.
The Travelling Salesman must find the shortest route that allows him to visit all locations on his route. Computers solve it by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest. However, bees solve it without computer assistance using a brain the size of grass seed. […]
Co-author and Queen Mary colleague, Dr. Mathieu Lihoreau adds: “There is a common perception that smaller brains constrain animals to be simple reflex machines. But our work with bees shows advanced cognitive capacities with very limited neuron numbers. There is an urgent need to understand the neuronal hardware underpinning animal intelligence, and relatively simple nervous systems such as those of insects make this mystery more tractable.
So long as scientists only think of bees as individual insects, they will continue to miss the point. Same for the planet really. So long as governments continue to see us as individuals, they will also miss the point. Time for more research into swarm intelligence and the subtle energies that allow colonies to survive and prosper.