Scientists have figured out how bees count

(ORDO NEWS) — The bees sort the numbers in ascending order from left to right. This was first revealed in a new study. It was done within the widely discussed theory that this direction is inherent in all animals, including humans.

Western research has shown that even before children learn to count, they begin to arrange increasing sums from left to right in what is called a mental number line.

However, the opposite direction has been found in people from cultures using the Arabic script, which reads from right to left.

“This issue is still being debated between those who believe that the mental number line is innate and those who say it is cultural,” said Martin Jurfa, professor at the Research Center for Animal Knowledge at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France.

Recently, evidence has been obtained that newborns and some vertebrates, including primates, order numbers from left to right.

Jurfa conducted a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) to see if the same is true for insects using an experiment on bees.

“Bees have already been shown to be able to count to at least five,” Jurfa told Agence France-Presse.

For the experiment, the researchers had individual honey bees fly into a wooden box.

Inside, sugar water was waiting for them near objects of various shapes. These were either five items on the right or three items on the left.

The number of items remained the same for each individual bee.

After the bees were trained to fly to a set number of items, the researchers removed them and placed a different number of items on the other side of the box wall, leaving the middle empty.

Then they removed the sugar water reward and watched where the bees flew.

For example, 80% of bees trained to pick three items would fly to the left to search for sugar species if they were offered one item on each side, and fly to the right if they were offered five items on each side. The experiment showed that the bees order increasing sums from left to right.


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