False Memories sometimes occur in Bumblebees: Study

False Memories sometimes occur in Bumblebees: Study

According to researchers at Queen Mary University of London, bumblebees are capable of keeping in mind for long time the patterns, colors and scents of flowers, but that memory can fail. The study has suggested that memories do not help bumblebees in the long run.

For the study, the researchers gave training to bees to feed on a nectar-like substance they found within artificial flowers that were colored either yellow or with black and white rings.

The researchers observed that the bees that were presented yellow flowers before the black-and-white patterned ones preferred the flower type that they had been exposed to last, both in the short term and in the long term. However, the bees that were presented with the black-and-white flowers before the yellow blooms preferred a yellow-and-black patterned one, which was an entirely new flower type. This meant that these bees mixed up the memories of the two flowers that previously offered them nectar.

“We suspect that memory merging may be as common in animal minds as in human minds, but no one has explored this in animals before, so to find it in bumblebees was exciting”, said lead researcher Lars Chittka while discussing the research with Science News.

Findings of the study, titled ‘Merging of Long-Term Memories in an Insect’, have been published in the journal Current Biology.

The research helped the scientists understand that the bees sometimes become confused because of glitches in their long-term memories.


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