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Did that Bee Sting me on Purpose?

Possibly. Anyone that swats away bees should read this NYT article about a paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology that claims bees can, and do, remember human faces.

A honeybee brain has a million neurons, compared with the 100 billion in a human brain. But, researchers report, bees can recognize faces, and they even do it the same way we do.

Bees and humans both use a technique called configural processing, piecing together the components of a face — eyes, ears, nose and mouth — to form a recognizable pattern, a team of researchers report in the Feb. 15 issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology.

“It’s a kind of gluing,” said Martin Giurfa, a professor of neural biology at the University de Toulouse, France, and one of the study’s authors.

It is the same ability, Dr. Giurfa said, that helps humans realize that a Chinese pagoda and a Swiss chalet are both abodes, based on their components.

“We know two vertical lines, with a hutlike top,” he said. “It’s a house.”

Continue Reading the NYT article.
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