Posts Tagged ‘bees’

Posted: January 3, 2013 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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“Big Bang Theory” physicist Sheldon Cooper has a buzzy new claim to fame. The geeky TV character, who counts Britain’s Stephen Hawking as his online friend, has had a species of bee named after his favorite catch phrase: Bazinga! On the TV show, Cooper uses the word to signal that he’s just pulled a trick on somebody else — essentially, a “gotcha” moment.

Brazilian biologist Andre Nemesio said he named a species of Brazilian orchid bee Euglossa bazinga in honor of “the clever, funny, ‘nerd’ character Sheldon Cooper,” because the bee had tricked scientists for some time with its similarity to other species.

Nemesio published his paper last month in Zootaxa, a journal for worldwide zoological taxonomists.

(via Bazinga! ‘Big Bang Theory’ all abuzz over bee – Technology & science – Science | NBC News)

I CERTAINLY wouldn’t want to meet this bunch in a dark alley. Some are sitting and glowering at me from the shadows, and others are brawling in an unruly scrum, their wings and limbs flailing against the sides of their Perspex prison. Every last one of them is armed, and I can’t help wondering if they are planning some kind of coup. Fortunately, I am assured that they can be easily placated with a quick fix of the sweet stuff. “Mostly, our bees collaborate quite happily,” says Lars Chittka, whose lab I am visiting at Queen Mary, University of London. That’s just as well, because these miniature brawlers show an extraordinary intelligence when they are given the chance to shine. Chittka and others have found that bees can count, read symbols and solve problems that would perplex some of the smartest mammals. Some have an eye for art appreciation, having been trained to pick either Monet or Picasso’s paintings from a choice of the two artists’ work. They may even have a form of self-awareness, and all of this with a brain the size of a pinhead. Studying how they are capable of such great ingenuity promises to reveal much about the evolution of intelligence. It might even provide a new perspective on the workings of our own brains. Bees have long enjoyed our admiration. Ever since the ancient Egyptians began to cultivate their taste for honey, the hive has been revered for its apparent altruism and tireless work ethic. Whether bees themselves are intelligent has been a matter of dispute, however, with many considering each individual to be relatively stupid – a mindless cog in the greater honey-making machine. As the Latin proverb had it: “una apis, nulla apis” – “one bee is no bee”. Hints of apian intellect began to emerge with the research of Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch. Working in the years around the second world war, he observed that foraging bees often perform a strange jive across the honeycomb – the famous “waggle dance”, the steps of which signal the direction and distance to nearby flowers.

Hive minds: Honeybee intelligence creates a buzz – life – 28 November 2012 – New Scientist

Posted: July 3, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees. While current research on human age-related dementia focuses on potential new drug treatments, researchers say these findings suggest that social interventions may be used to slow or treat age-related dementia. (via Scientists discover bees can ‘turn back time,’ reverse brain aging)