Honeybees understand the concept of zero

But bee brains have fewer than 1 million neurons - compared with the 86,000 million neurons of a human brain - and little was known about how insect brains would cope with being tested on such an important numeric skill. Parrots and monkeys understand the concept of zero, and now bees have joined the club, too. For long, it was believed that humans were the only ones to get the concept, but the recent work has changed the notion.

Perhaps these findings will shed light into the brain mechanism behind what allows us to understand the concept of "nothing", Adrian Dyer, a researcher at the RMIT University and senior author of the study, said in the RMIT statement.

Previous research on honey bees has revealed that the pollinators can learn complex skills from their peers and even grasp abstract concepts such as same/different and above/below that rely on relationships between objects.

RMIT PhD researcher Scarlett Howard set out to test the honeybee on its understanding, marking individual honeybees for easy identification and luring them to a specially-designed testing apparatus.

In the new study published on Thursday, scientists trained bees to choose images with the fewest elements. They lured a few honeybees, which are seen as a flawless model for insect cognition, into the apparatus and trained them to choose the image that had the lowest number of elements. The bees navigated toward the image with no elements, despite never having been exposed to an "empty set", RMIT said in a press release.

"This is a tricky neuroscience problem", he said.

IBM, Nvidia Help U.S. Leapfrog China in Supercomputer Race
Perry said the new machine "moves the nation one step closer to the goal of delivering an exascale supercomputing system by 2021". The U.S. debuted its new IBM supercomputer Friday, which it says is the fastest in the world - taking the title away from China.

"How does a brain represent nothing?"

That said, as zero forms the core of maths and binary code, the researchers think that the neural model mechanics in bees could be used in the development of robotics and machine intelligence. The bees were more accurate when zero was presented with a more distant number choice: a trait also seen in humans.

"If bees can perceive zero with a brain of less than a million neurons, it suggests there are simple efficient ways to teach AI new tricks".

The researchers also tried control experiments to rule out that bees were simply attracted to blank cards. If the bees flew to the picture with the smaller number of shapes, they were given delicious sugar water, but if they flew toward the larger number, they were punished with bitter-tasting quinine. "This capacity is therefore probably shared by many other animals", speculated study co-author, Dr. Aurore Avarguès-Weber from the University of Toulouse in France.

The ability to grasp the concept of zero is very rare in the animal kingdom, but this new study proves that it might actually be more widespread than what was previously thought.

Related:

  • Blood Test predicts pregnancy

    Blood Test predicts pregnancy

    Parents have long yearned for a simple test that could accurately predict a mother's due date, and her risk of a premature birth. They noticed that levels of some genetic messenger molecules, called RNA, changed as the women's pregnancies progressed.
    Trump arrives late to G-7 gender equality breakfast

    Trump arrives late to G-7 gender equality breakfast

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel strongly pushed back on these attacks, per reports . But with that being said , Russian Federation should be in this meeting", Trump said Friday as he left the White House.
    Ant raises $14 billion in largest single mop-up

    Ant raises $14 billion in largest single mop-up

    The 14-year-old Ant administers the Alipay platform and used to be part of Jack Ma's Alibaba-now it's likely to have its own IPO . Ant Financial is the world's highest-valued private technology startup, surpassing ride-sharing firm Uber Technologies.
  • Afghan Taliban announces Eid ceasefire for first time

    Afghan Taliban announces Eid ceasefire for first time

    It wound down its combat mission in 2014 but its Resolute Support mission comprises nearly 16,000 troops from around 40 countries. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its news agency Aamaq website.

    Facebook let select companies have "special access" to user data, per report

    The company said its cooperation with Facebook was to improve user services, and it said it didn't collect or store user data. Numerous companies, including the Royal Bank of Canada and Nissan Motor Company, apparently maintained such deals.
    Anthony Bourdain Hanged Himself with Bath Robe Belt

    Anthony Bourdain Hanged Himself with Bath Robe Belt

    Oliver wrote on Instagram: "I have to say I'm in total shock to hear that the wonderful @anthonybourdain has just died". "We'll miss him", Obama wrote on Twitter , accompanying the photo, taken by his White House photographer Pete Souza.
  • EA Play 2018 press conference live stream

    EA Play 2018 press conference live stream

    Sony kicked off its E3 2018 celebrations a week ahead of schedule, announcing a new game each day leading up to the event. Electronic Arts has revealed key information regarding Battlefield V during their Play Live press conference in E3 2018 .
    Argentina strikes $50 billion financing deal with IMF

    Argentina strikes $50 billion financing deal with IMF

    Dujovne said he expected the IMF's board to approve the deal during a June 20 meeting. The request for assistance from Argentina was lodged on the 8th of May this year.
    Former Canadian PM says U.S.  tariffs to dominate G7 summit — Interview

    Former Canadian PM says U.S. tariffs to dominate G7 summit — Interview

    Squad cars steered through the area and uniformed officers observed varied locations across the neighborhood favored with tourists and locals alike.
  • Merkel doesn't see readmission of Russia to G-7

    Merkel doesn't see readmission of Russia to G-7

    The parliament's question and answer format will see Merkel address lawmakers in one-hour sessions three times a year. Wednesday marked the first time Merkel took questions in the Bundestag since she became chancellor 13 years ago.

    Trump Supports Relaxing Federal Pot Laws, In Blow To Jeff Sessions

    Medical marijuana is legal in more than two dozen states and recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and Washington , D.C. Gardner and Warren, both supporters of marijuana legalization by states, developed the bill in response to Sessions' action.
    Savannah Phillips Prince George Trooping the Colour celebrations

    Savannah Phillips Prince George Trooping the Colour celebrations

    The Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise Windsor, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie shared a carriage behind them. Among the 23 aircraft taking part are modern jets and historic aircraft, while the Red Arrows will be the finale.

Comments

Latest news

The most stylish royal looks from 2018's Trooping the Colour ceremony
Mom and dad, Kate Middleton and Prince William , left the newborn at home with the nanny, as he's simply too young to participate. In matching ice blue, the Duchess of Cambridge , 36, and the Duchess of Cornwall, 70, led the procession in a carriage.

Lottery tickets sold in Victoria and Ladysmith worth $500K
Lottery players can check their numbers on the Winning Numbers page on OLG.ca or on the OLG Lottery App. A ticket with the numbers 04, 05, 10, 17, 19, 27 and 49 was sold in Ladysmith, as well as in Ontario.

Origin Access Premier: Official Reveal Trailer, EA PLAY 2018
That has been a constant complaint by gamers, in fact, and something Electronic Arts has made a decision to address today. Some games mentioned were Madden 19, Federation Internationale de Football Association 19, Battlefield V and Anthem .

Anthony Bourdain's death impacts local community
If someone is an immediate threat of dying by suicide, call 911 or a crisis intervention line. "You have to get them care now". So they get better. "You look at Kate Spade or Anthony Bourdain and they don't look sick".

IBF strips Golovkin of middleweight title
It will be Canelo making 55 percent in a rematch against GGG, which will be much bigger than the first fight was for sure. I can't understand why the IBF stripped of the title Golovkin is a big surprise for all of us.

On Sonam Kapoors Birthday, Her Squad Gives Us Some Serious Goals
During Sonam's Sangeet night, she even sent a special message to Swara's boyfriend who wasn't able to make it to the celebration. But, this is not the first time a film starring her has scored impressive number at the box office.

Meghan Markle Makes Her Buckingham Palace Balcony Debut For Queen’s Birthday Celebration
While the Windsor kids are often oblivious of the throngs below, it can be intimidating, especially for adults. Matching their mother's color scheme, Charlotte wore a patterned blue dress along with a red bow in her hair.

Teamsters Vote to Authorize Strike as UPS Contract Talks Heat Up
The Teamsters division encompasses UPS drivers, pilots, part-time loaders and unloaders, dockworkers, among other employees. Teamsters are divided over the matter, which makes it harder to reach a deal and avoid a strike, according to CNN .

Thousands in London for Trooping the Colour spectacle
Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, did not take part today, in line with his retirement from public life past year . On Saturday, Meghan was pictured wearing a pale pink dress with matching hat, while Harry was in military uniform.

New York City doctor charged with manslaughter in overdose deaths
Choy's prescriptions were filed at pharmacies in New York City, upstate New York, Long Island and New Jersey. Lawrence Choy, 65, was scheduled to appear in Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday for an arraignment.

Golden State Warriors beat Cleveland Cavaliers to win title
But the weight of having to shoulder so much of the load throughout the Playoffs seemed to catch up with James in Friday's finale. Plus, I think Cleveland's chance of winning this series was spoiled by a number of crucial mistakes made in game one.

Chinese phone maker ZTE saved from brink after deal with US
That's because it violated an agreement with the U.S. after it got caught evading sanctions against North Korea and Iran. ZTE supplier Oclaro was up 1.3 percent while Acacia Communications was down 0.6 percent.

Boston Celtics "Scared" Kyrie Irving Will Join Knicks In 2019
Smith, the three-time National Basketball Association champ will meet with the Golden State Warriors this summer. "That's just what it's coming down to".

Buffett, Dimon say quarterly profit forecasts harming economy
Both men said they still want companies to release detailed quarterly and annual financial data, so investors can evaluate them. They have said the practice of telling Wall Street what to expect from earnings can distort management's priorities.

Spain's new PM unveils government dominated by women
Sanchez chose his cabinet from a variety of occupational backgrounds, including appointing a former astronaut as science minister. Day to day, Meritxell Batet, another Catalan, has been put in charge of relations with Spain's regions.

Other news