Via YouTube: A new study led by the U.K.’s Queen Mary University has found that even relatively simple animals like bumblebees can teach other how to perform somewhat complex tasks such as pulling a string to access sugar water.
Bumblebees are social insects that can work together to solve more complex problems, finds a recently published study. As a news release about the research states, the team, led by the U.K.’s Queen Mary University, “found that bumblebees can figure out how to pull a string to get a sugar water reward.” Additionally, they determined “that watching this [behavior] helps other bees learn to do it too, and that this new skill continues to spread through a colony even after the original string-puller is gone.” For the experiment, the team trained bees to pull a string in order to access a small amount of sugar water on the surface of a covered disk. They then had 25 untrained bees observe the action and found that 60 percent of this group eventually learned how to perform the task as a result. The study also points out that the skill was quickly passed on among members and that new string pullers often became teachers to others in the colony. Based on the results, researchers suggest that even relatively simple animals have the basic tools needed “for the cultural spread of unusual skills.”