Bees could now be in the running for the title of most efficient being known to man. A new study has found that our honey producing friends are better at mathematical functions than today’s most powerful computers.
According to Natural News, the study says bees are able to quickly calculate the shortest flying routes among their network of flowers and plants in order to minimize flying time, a feat that even the speediest computers take days to solve.
Researchers have been trying to figure out the best way to design travel routes for a long time. The best designed routes minimize travel time and increase efficiency.
It turns out bees have already figured out the whole route calculation problem and probably haven’t had to worry about it like humans do. Yes bees have a better solution to a problem than humans currently do, and they’ve achieved this all with a brain the size of a grass seed.
“Foraging bees solve traveling salesman problems every day,” Dr. Nigel Raine from Royal Holloway University of London is quoted as saying in Natural News. “They visit flowers at multiple locations and, because bees use lots of energy to fly, they find a route which keeps flying to a minimum.”
The Royal Holloway team situated a computer controlled system of flowers to track the behavior of research bees. The goal was to observe how bees evaluated and choose their routes. The bees did not simply follow a route based on the sequence in which they discovered flowers.
No, the bees were able to recalculate in their heads the crème de la crème of routes. These routes that the bees naturally chose maximized their productivity and saved energy.
This new information about bees comes on the heels of recent news from a few years ago that discovered that bees also have an extremely significant sense of smell. Bees are able to remember many different smells.
“Despite their tiny brains, bees are capable of extraordinary feats of behavior,” Raine went on to say. “We need to understand how they can solve the traveling salesman problem without a computer.”
The intelligence paradigm for small creatures has changed. Studies have found that bees, like birds have amazingly powerful brains for their diminutive size. Animals that we once thought to be simple are turning out to be far more complex than anyone could have imagined.