One astonishing fact about the honeybee is that its tiny brain is only one cubic millimetre in size, but it influences a planet with the circumference of twenty five thousand miles containing seven billion humans. So what actually goes on in this miniscule brain of mercy?
Well, the average desktop computer makes around 100 million computations per second and the average modern advanced computer makes around 16 billion computations per second. These figures are mind boggling!
However, the honeybee’s 1 cubic millimetre brain can figure out a whopping 10 trillion a second. That’s 625 times greater than the average advanced computer. All in just 1 cubic millimetre! As I drop kick our pc out the door, let us explain some more....
This tiny brain houses around 950 thousand neurons, compared to the 100 billion housed just behind your eyes But yet this tiny brain can perform tasks that previously have only been understood as possible from so called ‘Higher intelligence’
Below is a list of some of the functions it is known to perform,
1. Complex Pattern Recognition
2. Colour Recognition
3. Facial Recognition (and we though opening our mobile phone with our face was cool!)
4. Remembers smells
5. Decipher language by vibration and movement
6. Complex Navigation
7. Electromagnetic Signatures
8. Energy management/expenditure
This list is but a few and it is ever growing as studies advance.
"While the capacity of conceptual elaboration has been considered (and is still considered) a higher-order capacity proper from primates and other 'highly-evolved' animals the fact that a 950 000-neuron [honeybee] brain can achieve this kind of task shows that the frontier does not reside there’ (Martin Giurfa, University of Toulouse discussing the bees ability to understand ‘Conceptual Relationships)
The above states in truth, scientists don’t fully know how these tasks are achieved in such a brain and what other functions are possible. However, what we do know is that these tiny creatures are truly amazing and all these functions result in a species that emanates all the finest qualities that the more complex brains are globally struggling to maintain. The main one being Mercy.
It seems the little honeybee might have the white coats stumped! At least for now anyway.