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Honey Bees Remember Happy and Sad Times, Scientists Discover

While the brains of honey bees are tiny compared to those of humans, the insects are capable of some surprisingly advanced thinking.

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences has now cast new light on the insects' cognitive abilities.

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that honey bees can remember positive and negative experiences—such as taking care of their young or fending off an enemy. These memories are then stored in specific areas of their brains, according to how good or bad the experience was.

Scientists have long known that vertebrates—animals with tail bones—like ourselves are capable of storing memories of pleasure and pain in distinct brain areas such as this. However, this has never been documented before in the minds of bees.

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Publication Date: 09/10/2019
Photo credits: Apis Mellifera
    on August 10, 2019 in Girona, Spain.
    Manuel Medir/Getty Images
Editor: Aristos Georgiou