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The consciousness of bees

The Washington Post – “Experiments indicate that bees have surprisingly rich inner worlds…And now we are learning just how smart insects can be. As I show in my new book, “The Mind of a Bee,” the latest research indicates that even tiny-brained bees are profoundly intelligent creatures that can memorize not only flowers but also human faces, solve problems by thinking rather than by trial and error, and learn to use tools by observing skilled bees. They even appear to experience basic emotions, or at least something like optimism and pessimism. The possibility of sentience in these animals raises important ethical questions for their ecological conservation, as well as their treatment in the crop pollination industry and in research laboratories. Social insects are traditionally thought to be wholly governed by instinct: They can build complex nests and efficiently divide up their labor through innate behaviors, but are considered stupid as individuals, with complexity emerging only at the group level. But there is significant evidence that bees have an inner world of thought — that they are not responding to stimuli only with hard-wired responses…” [h/t Barclay Walsh]

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