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The Honeybee Dance-Language Controversy Robot Bee Comes to the Rescue

Gadagkar, Raghavendra (1996) The Honeybee Dance-Language Controversy Robot Bee Comes to the Rescue. In: Resonance, 1 (1). pp. 63-70.


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Language is usually credited with being the major factor in making humans so difIerent from other higher animals. The fact that honey bees have a dance language that is unparalleled in the rest of the animal kingdom is therefore of great interest. Successful forager bees communicate information about the source of food discovered by them, to their sisters upon returning home. They do this by means of a round dance (which only says, there is food nearby) or a waggle dance which gives information about the distance, direction and quantity of food to be expected. Karl Von Frisch bagged the Nobel Prize in 1973, mainly for deciphering the dance language of honey bees. However there are some sceptics who believe that the dance that the foragers do perform may have no communication value and that bees locate sources of food based on the scent left behind by the discoverer on the way to and at the location of the food source. While bees can find food based on such odours, recent experiments, using a robot bee, convincingly demonstrate that bees can also find food, in the absence of smell, on the basis of information communicated through the dance language.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Resonance
Publisher: Indian Academy of Sciences
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2007
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2010 04:33
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/9247

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