BY MATT CRAIG | Intern for PGA.COM | Ball State Sports Link
This piece was originally published on PGA.com
I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have been testing the intelligence of bees by attempting to teach them a “game” very similar to golf.
Here’s an excerpt from newscientist.com.
They built a circular platform with a small hole in the centre filled with sugar solution, into which bees had to move a ball to get a reward. A researcher showed them how to do this by using a plastic bee on a stick to push the ball.
And amazingly, it worked. The bees were able to show not only imitation of the initial demonstration but eventually creative strategy when they were given more difficult “holes.”
It turns out, according to the author of the study Olli Loukola, that bees learn to play golf the same way humans do.
“They don’t just blindly copy the demonstrator; they can improve on what they learned,” says Loukola. He thinks this cognitive flexibility could help the bees forage successfully in changing natural environments. “This ability to copy others and improve upon what they observe, I think that’s really important.”
Bees can play golf now, so what’s your excuse?
Don’t feel too bad, because while the bees tended to be strong in the short game, they did seem to struggle getting distance off the tee. And while we’re at it, they weren’t keeping their lead arm straight, so they need to work on that.
But we’ll cut them some slack. They’re bees after all.