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A New Definition of "Young Researcher"

The Royal Society‘s science journal Biology Letters has published a most unusual paper: it was researched and written by a group of children aged 8-10. Simply titled Blackawton Bees, it is the product of 25 U.K. students who worked with neuroscientists to collect data on whether bumblebees could be trained to learn which flowers to forage from by using color and pattern cues. Their track sheets recorded diagrams and simple stats, with visual puzzles the children designed for the bees to “solve.” They found that the bees responded to complex color and spatial arrangements to learn which flower held food. Written in age-appropriate language, the paper concludes that “before doing these experiments we did not really think a lot about bees and how they are as smart as us …. (Bees-seem to-think!)” An accompanying essay from two neuroscientists say that, while the report is lacking vigorous analysis, the finding is significant. [%comments]