Bees zero in on nothing
Scientists have discovered honeybees can understand the concept of zero, putting them in an elite club of clever animals that can grasp the abstract mathematical notion of nothing.
VISUAL: This is a text based video explaining the concept of bees understanding zero. It shows a range of video and animated footage of bees with the footage illustrating the text on screen.
AUDIO: Ambient Music Plays throughout
TEXT ON SCREEN: Bees can understand one of our most abstract concepts.
The concept of zero.
Until now, we thought only humans and animals with large brains could understand zero.
But now we know it’s possible for insects to grasp it too.
It’s a tricky concept.
Whole civilisations - like the Romans - missed it in their number systems.
Scientists trained bees to choose images with the lowest number of elements.
The bees that chose the lowest number received a reward.
When researchers showed bees a blank image
They gravitated towards it. Despite their tiny brains.
And despite never having been exposed to an “empty set”.
Bees also understood that zero was at the lower end of a number sequence.
It’s big news, not just for bees.
Zero is the backbone of modern maths and technological advancements.
If you need only a bee-sized brain to get complex abstract concepts, maybe there are far more efficient ways to design AI.
And bees could start teaching AI some new tricks.
AUDIO: Ambient music fades
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