Never underestimate a wasp — new study shows they’re smarter than we thought

(CNN)Summer is approaching in the northern hemisphere, heralding the return of that great scourge of al fresco diners everywhere: the wasp.

The research found that wasps can use a form of logical reasoning to infer unknown relationships from known relationships, according to a press release.
Essentially this means they can work out that if is X is greater than Y, and Y is greater than Z, X is greater than Z — an ability that was thought to be a key human trait for thousands of years.
    In recent decades, however, scientists have shown that vertebrate animals such as birds, monkeys and fish also have this ability, known as transitive inference (TI).
    And Elizabeth Tibbetts, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan, has found the first evidence of TI in an invertebrate animal — namely the paper wasp.
    The insects, which are found around the world, are known for making distinctive nests out of chewed wood mixed with saliva that look like paper.
    While the paper wasp’s sting is toxic to humans, it is less painful than those of other wasp species.
    A previous study investigated TI in honeybees, which failed the test, with their small nervous system thought to be a possible explanation.
    Paper wasps have a similar-sized nervous system to honeybees, and both insects have brains about the same size as a grain of rice.
    However paper wasps show more complex social behaviors.
    Tibbetts was intrigued to discover whether these behaviors had any bearing on TI, and investigated by training wasps to discriminate between different pairs of colors.
    She found the wasps quickly and accurately learned the pairs, and were later able to use what they had learned to organize a hierarchy of colors when confronted with new pairs of colors.
    “This study adds to a growing body of evidence that the miniature nervous systems of insects do not limit sophisticated behaviors,” Tibbetts said in the release.
    “We’re not saying that wasps used logical deduction to solve this problem, but they seem to use known relationships to make inferences about unknown relationships.”
    Tibbetts believes the explanation may lie in the differing social behaviors of paper wasps and honey bees.
    While a honeybee colony has a single queen and multiple female workers of equal rank, paper wasp colonies are home to multiple reproductive females, called foundresses, which compete for dominance.
    In such a situation, TI would help wasps make quick deductions about social interactions.
    This means they can build and manipulate an implicit hierarchy, helping them to live in the colony, the press release said.
    “Our findings suggest that the capacity for complex behavior may be shaped by the social environment in which behaviors are beneficial, rather than being strictly limited by brain size,” said Tibbetts, who has been researching wasp behavior for 20 years.
    Gavin Broad, Principal Curator in Charge (Insects) at the Natural History Museum in London, agrees with these conclusions.
    “The paper wasps in the study are more flexible than many wasps (or indeed honey bees) in their ability to transition from being workers to queens,” Broad told CNN via email.
    “So dominance hierarchies are important to these paper wasps as the workers can become the queens, whereas a worker honey bee can never become a queen.”
    Broad also pointed out that wasp society is entirely female, and males don’t contribute to social dynamics.
    Tibbetts told CNN via email that the next step is to study how wasps use TI in social interactions, including figuring out their relative strength without fighting a rival.
    “For example, if a wasp saw Jane win a fight with Lisa and that wasp had previously won a fight with Jane, the wasp could infer that she could probably beat Lisa,” said Tibbetts, who added that other animals use TI in this way during social interactions.
    In a previous study, Tibbetts showed paper wasps can recognize variations in facial markings and are more aggressive toward wasps with unfamiliar markings.
      And another piece of her research found the insects use memories of previous social interactions with other wasps to determine their behavior, relying on surprisingly long memories.
      The full results of the research are published in the journal Biology Letters.

      Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific


      Recommended PRODUCTS
    • Don't study harder, study smarter Speed Study Secrets anyone can use
    • Offers a relaxed study, incorporating the knitting process into your life and Bible Study.
    • Cfa exam software, written study guides, thousands of tough Cfa exam questions.
    • The scientifically proven way of adding inches of real height at any age.
    • Discover The 7 Secrets To Becoming An End-Time Prophecy Expert In 48 Hours...
    • Discover The Self Defense Secret from Martial Arts Training Video Online
    • Learn What The Bible Says About Retirement and How To Make Your Retirement Life Truly Everlasting.
    • Gives you the skills to give Reiki healing to your Dogs, Cats, Horses or any other pets.
    • Are you frustrated that your expensive karoke player does not let you play.
    • Priceless collection of proven tips, tools and techniques to turn into a super-achiever.
    • Feng Shui 2.0. Heal Yourself Heal The Planet
    • The Latest Boat Design Software Start building your dream Boat In 5 Mins
    • An A to Z home study course with easy-to-follow instructions
    • Learn about how electronic circuits operate and gain valuable basic electronic skills.
    • Smarter Abs Workouts For Faster Results.
    • Recreate your reality through the life changing process of manifesting miracles.
    • Clickbank Ads
       
       


      RELATED PRODUCTS
    • Don't study harder, study smarter Speed Study Secrets anyone can use
    • Offers a relaxed study, incorporating the knitting process into your life and Bible Study.
    • Discover The 7 Secrets To Becoming An End-Time Prophecy Expert In 48 Hours...
    • The scientifically proven way of adding inches of real height at any age.
    • Cfa exam software, written study guides, thousands of tough Cfa exam questions.
    • Learn What The Bible Says About Retirement and How To Make Your Retirement Life Truly Everlasting.
    • Discover The Self Defense Secret from Martial Arts Training Video Online
    • Priceless collection of proven tips, tools and techniques to turn into a super-achiever.
    • Are you frustrated that your expensive karoke player does not let you play.
    • Gives you the skills to give Reiki healing to your Dogs, Cats, Horses or any other pets.
    • Quickly cure your acid reflux and enjoy permanent freedom from heartburn
    • Put small animated peel image at the top corner right or left on webpage
    • In Only 5 Minutes Double Reading Speed, Double Memory, Guaranteed
    • Discover How Easy It Is To Start Your Own Internet Business.
    • Learn about the solar systems largest planet jupiter predict great red spot transit times
    • Learn How To Attract the Man of Your Dreams And Receive A Marriage Proposal In Few Months
    • Clickbank Ads
       

      Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

      If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.

      And ... Don't forget to have fun!

      Recommended

      Commission Shortcut DIAMOND PRO

      Commission Shortcut is YOUR shortcut to automated affiliate commissions in 3 simple steps! 100% Cloud based app and done-for-you campaigns!

      CC Monkey Money Bundle

      Covert Commissions Monkey Money Bundle

      Leave a Reply