An experiment with honeybees challenges the idea that only humans are able to socially learn behaviors that cannot be innovated through individual trial and error, according to a paper reported in Nature. Bumblebees learned from trained demonstrator bees to open a novel two-step puzzle box to obtain food rewards. While the experimenters were unable to train demonstrator bees to perform the unrewarded first step without providing a temporary reward, which was removed during later stages of training, a third of naive observer bees learned to open the two-step box from the demonstrators, without ever being rewarded after the first step. Furthermore, naive bees failed to open the box despite extended exposure for up to 24 days.

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