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Bees Recognize Human Faces

December 25, 2008
can animals also tell one face from another?
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Bees Recognize Human Faces

Think all bees look alike? Well we don’t all look alike to them, according to a new study that shows honeybees, who have 0.01% of the neurons that humans do, can recognize and remember individual human faces. For humans, identifying faces is critical to functioning in everyday life. But can animals also tell one face from another? Knowing honeybees’ unusual propensity for distinguishing between different flowers, visual scientist Adrian Dyer of Cambridge University in Cambridge, England, wondered whether that talent stretched to other contexts. So he and his colleagues pinned photographs of four different people’s faces onto a board. By rewarding the bees with a sucrose solution, the team repeatedly coaxed the insects to buzz up to a target face, sometimes varying its location.
in the bees’ brains, the memories stuck: The insects could pick out the target face even two days after being trained.
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