Big brains are not crucial to teaching

Animals do not need a big brain to be able to teach each other, a new study suggests.

Animal behaviourists in the UK believe they have found the first evidence of two-way teacher-pupil communication between ants, suggesting that teaching behaviour may have evolved according to the value of information rather than brain size.

Some ants use tandem running when foraging. This is when one ant appears to lead another from the nest to a food source by using signals that control the speed and route of the journey.

(…)

The leader’s speed is controlled by frequent taps on its legs and abdomen by the antennae of the follower ant – who appears to stop frequently to learn the route back.

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn8567

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~ by khamael on January 16, 2006.

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