Bees have language, can solve problems, can learn. Are they conscious beings?

Bees plan and imagine the future.  They can learn from one another.  Apparently, it was just arrogance that led us to say they were simple, unconscious creatures that did their work via stimulus and response, with a collective intelligence but no flexibility or adaptive behavior at the individual level.

More than 200 years ago, the blind Swiss naturalist François Huber (working with his wife Marie-Aimée Lullin and servant François Burnens) suggested that honeybees might display foresight in the construction of their honeycomb.

While honeybees were busy building the (normally two-dimensional) honeycomb, Huber’s team placed glass panes into the path of the construction. (Glass is a poor surface on which to attach wax.) The honeybees took corrective action long before they had reached the glass: they rotated the entire composition by 90 degrees so as to attach the comb.

Aeon article by Lars Chittka

Psychology Today article about how deceptive brain size can be.

 

 

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