Bumblebee waggle dance doubters disarmed

Bees really do point to new foodsources by dancing

The waggle dance is a famous example of the power of one-many broadcast communications in one of natures most successful teams – honeybees!


Physorg.com in an article, Bees equipped with radar solve waggle dance controversy, reports on a paper published in Nature on May 12th 2005 which provides new data that resolves a long-standing scientific controversy.

In the 1960s, Nobel Prize winning zoologist, Karl von Frisch, proposed that honeybees use dance (the "waggle dance") as a coded message to guide other bees to new food sources.

However, some scientists did not accept von Frisch’s theory.

In the new research using harmonic radar, scientists have now tracked the flight of bees that had attended a "waggle dance" and found that they flew straight to the vicinity of the feeding site, as predicted by von Frisch.

The tracks allowed the scientists to determine how accurately bees translate the dance code into successful navigation, and showed that they correct for wind drift even when en route to destinations they have never visited before.

So those clever little honeybees have turned out to be even smarter than we thought!

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Animal Instincts in the office

Animal Instincts in the office

Just because we might have selfish genes it does not mean we have to behave selfishly; nature knows when to be nice as well as nasty and nepotism occurs in the biological world too with equal destructiveness as our world. This is according to Richard Conniff author of The Ape in the Corner Office and reviewed in the UK Guardian Newspaper (27 May).


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