Scientists have found that Bee may be able to count using only four nerve cells as their brains have evolved to be very energy efficent.
In order to understand how bees count the reserchers at Queen Mary University of London in the U.K. simulated a very simple mainiature brain on a computer with just four nerve cells -far fewer than what a real bees has.
The brain could easily count small quantities of items when inspecting one item closely, which is the same way bees count. This differs from humans who glance at all the items and count them together.
In lab experiments, bees can count upwards of five and can trained to select the smaller or larger of two values. Bees can even choose the value of zero, when trained to select the lesser of two quantities.
They might have achieved this not understanding numercial concepts but by using specific flight movements to closely inspect items which then shape their visual input and simplifies the task to the point where it requires minimal brainpower.
Scientists think their findings, published in the journal iScience, prove animal intelligence doesn’t always have to rely on a larger number of neurons. ‘Instead , a small number of nerve cells simply need to be arranged in the right way.’
The study could also have implications for artificial intelligence because efficient autonomous robots will need to rely on robust, computationally inexpensive algorithms ,and ‘Careful examination of the actual inspection strategies used by animals might revel that often employ active scanning behaviors as shortcuts to simplify complex visual pattern discrimination tasks, ‘Dr. Vasas said.
Hopefully ,our work will inspire others to look more closely not just at what cognitive tasks animals can solve ,but also at how they are solving them.