News Default Bumblebees Learn Complex Behaviours
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Phytoplankton

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Bumblebees Socially Learn Complex Behaviours

Published on March 6, 2024

Culture in animals, akin to human culture, involves socially learned behaviours that persist over time. Researchers have now demonstrated that bumblebees can acquire complex behaviours through social learning, even when they fail to innovate independently.

Learning from Demonstrators

Trained demonstrator bees taught naive observer bees to open a novel two-step puzzle box for food rewards. Remarkably, the observers learned this complex task without ever being rewarded after the first step.

Challenging Assumptions

This finding challenges the notion that socially learned behaviours beyond individual trial and error are unique to humans. Bumblebees, too, can acquire complex skills through social learning.

Implications

Understanding animal culture and social learning mechanisms sheds light on the evolution of complex behaviours across species.

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