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Bees learn to play golf

Maybe you've got some bumblebees flying around in your greenhouse. They're busy pollinating, happily flying from one tomato plant to the next. But did you ever wonder if some of those fellows might be into sports? Golf, perhaps?

Sounds ridiculous, right? However, scientists of the Queen Mary University of London have discovered that it is indeed possible to teach a bumblebee how to play "golf".

They built a circular platform with a small hole in the centre filled with sugar solution, into which bees had to move a ball to get a reward. A researcher showed them how to do this by using a plastic bee on a stick to push the ball.

The researchers then took three groups of other bees and trained them in different ways. One group observed a previously trained bee solving the task; another was shown the ball moving into the hole, pulled by a hidden magnet; and a third group was given no demonstration, but was shown the ball already in the hole containing the reward.

The bees then did the task themselves. Those that had watched other bees do it were most successful and took less time than those in the other groups to solve the task. Bees given the magnetic demonstration were also more successful than those not given one.



Source: New Scientist

Publication date: 2/27/2017

 


 

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