Bumble bees are surprisingly innovative“Bumble bees have already proven themselves remarkable animals. They possess complex…

Bumble bees are surprisingly innovative“Bumble bees have already proven themselves remarkable animals. They possess complex navigational skills, rudimentary culture, and emotions. They can even use tools: Scientists have shown that the insects can learn to pull a string—and so get a sugary reward—by watching another bee perform the task. Although bees don’t pull strings in the wild, they do sometimes pull or push aside flower petals and parts that may resemble strings.”“This flexibility could help bumble bees in the wild, which face widespread population declines. “It suggests that bees may be able to respond quickly to novel problems that arise in their environment,” such as the introduction of new flowering plants and the loss of familiar ones, says Daniel Papaj, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson.”“Most importantly for the study’s researchers, “It puts the final nail in the coffin of the idea that small brains constrain insects’” cognitive abilities, says co-author Lars Chittka, a behavioral ecologist also at Queen Mary University of London. There’s more going on beneath that exoskeleton than we think.”

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