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Bees See Our Faces As Strange Flowers

From LiveScience:

Bees See Your Face as a Strange Flower

04 February 2010

Bees can learn to recognize human faces, or at least face-like patterns, a new study suggests.

Rather than specifically recognizing people, these nectar-feeding creatures view us as "strange flowers," the researchers say. And while they might not be able to identify individual humans, they can learn to distinguish features that are arranged to look like faces.

The results suggest that, even with their tiny brains, insects can handle image analysis. The researchers say that if humans want to design automatic facial recognition systems, we could learn a lot by using the bees’ approach to face recognition.

The study was spurred by work conducted in 2005 by biologist Adrian Dyer from Monash University in Victoria, Australia, which showed that the insects could be trained to associate pictures of human faces with tasty sugar snacks.

This sure sounds like ‘profiling’ to us.

Martin Giurfa from the Université de Toulouse, France, was intrigued by the research and wondered what strategy the bees used to discriminate between faces. The pair of scientists teamed up to tackle the puzzling question.

The team first tested whether the bees could learn to distinguish between simple face-like images — stick drawings like a toddler might make, which consisted of two dots for eyes, a short vertical dash for a nose and a longer horizontal line for a mouth…

Next, the researchers tested whether or not the bees could tell the difference between "face-like" and "non-face-like" images, even if they had never seen the pictures before.

Indeed, they could…


This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, February 6th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Bees See Our Faces As Strange Flowers”

  1. MinnesotaRush says:

    Are these researchers and scientists we’re hearing so much about ALL buying drugs with the government grants & money?!?!

    And whose coming up with these “research ideas”??? How much they being paid and what drugs are they on???

    Can you say “Alice Cooper”???

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    This is really a smokescreen to get bees to believe in Climate Change.

    Cuz, man, if the bees believe in it, they would be unstoppable.

  3. canary says:

    bees left on their own, are not interested in human faces, which allows bee keepers to work among tens & hundreds of thousands of bees without getting stung.

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