Bees can associate characters with numbers

We already knew that bees can understand zero andthey even know arithmetic, and now a new study shows that tiny insect brains are able to connect characters with numbers. Researchers trained honey bees to customize a sign to a specific number and proved that bees can remember that a certain symbol means a certain numerical value. This discovery sheds new light on how evolved numerical abilities over thousands of years and even opens up new opportunities for people to communicate with other species.

Do bees know how to count?

The discovery that made the same teamAustralian and French scientists, who have found out earlier that bees understand zero, also point to new approaches to biology-based computation that can replicate a highly efficient brain approach to data processing. The results of the study were published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Associate Professor Adrian Dyer says that although people werethe only kind that developed systems for representing numbers, like the Arabic numerals that we use every day, studies show that this concept can be understood by the brain, much less than ours.

“We take for granted that learningnumbers in childhood, we are easy to manage with them, but in order to understand what the "four" represents, it really requires a complex level of cognitive abilities, "says Dyer. “Studies have shown that primates and birds can also learn to associate characters with numbers, but this is the first time we see insects. There are more than 86 billion neurons in the human brain, and less than a million in bees, and we are separated by 600 million years of evolution. ”

"The discovery of how such complex numerical skillscan be comprehended with the help of miniature brains; it will help us understand how the mathematical and cultural thinking developed in humans and, possibly, in other animals. ”

According to Dyer, the study of the brain of insects offers interesting possibilities for the future design of high-performance computing systems.

“When we look for solutions to complex problems, we oftenwe find that nature has already done its work much more elegantly and efficiently, ”he says. “Understanding how tiny bee brains manage information, opens the way to solutions inspired by biology that will be much more efficient than traditional processing systems.”

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