When it comes to brainpower, we humans think our minds are the bees’ knees – but are we really much smarter than other animals?
In fact, the ability to recognize artistic style was just the latest in a long list of achievements. Honey bees can count up to four, read complex signs, learn from observation and talk to each other in a secret code (the famous ‘waggle dance’). When foraging, they can weigh up the distance to different flowers, planning complex routes to collect the most nectar with the least effort. And within the hive, their individual responsibilities can include cleaning, undertaking (as they tend to the dead) and even air-conditioning, as they collect water to drop on the honey comb during hot weather.
Culture, technology, altruism and many other traits have all been touted as signs of human greatness – but the more you look, the narrower that list becomes.