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Nature & Environment

Tiny insect brains can solve big problems

By T.K. Randall
November 18, 2009 · Comment icon 21 comments

Image Credit: PiccoloNamek
Studies have shown that despite having tiny brains the size of a pinhead insects possess several impressive mental capabilities from the ability to count and categorize objects to the ability to recognize human faces.
Insects may have tiny brains, but they can perform some seriously impressive feats of mental gymnastics. According to a growing number of studies, some insects can count, categorize objects, even recognize human faces — all with brains the size of pinheads.

Source: MSNBC | Comments (21)

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Comment icon #12 Posted by sam12six 15 years ago
A certain part of the brain would have been active during the face recognition. Through these studies when the insect "recognised" a face, they could have used a brain sensor would have indicated this part of the brain active. Over a number of tests they would know if the insect recognised something. Recognizing a face is a complex issue. It's not a simple issue like a simple measurement (like sound or light) where you can just turn on stimulus, measure activity and check off that there is a correlation. The only possible way I could see measuring recognition of a face in general is that activ... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by behaviour??? 15 years ago
While I don't have any conflicting data, reading the article, the only thing I could think was exactly HOW do you determine that an insect has recognized a face... And counting??? Thanks B???
Comment icon #14 Posted by Mistydawn 15 years ago
The only thing that surprises is me, is that Scientists and animal behaviouralists are only getting around to examining insects and their mental capabilities. Go BUGS!!!
Comment icon #15 Posted by puridalan 15 years ago
You know what even more interesting, there is now evidence showing that instead of our brain seems to be who knows does that mean we are getting smarter
Comment icon #16 Posted by kurethmu 15 years ago
If they're so smart, why are they still bugs? Why not rise up and take over the world?
Comment icon #17 Posted by Mistydawn 15 years ago
If they're so smart, why are they still bugs? Why not rise up and take over the world? Maybe, unlike us, they don't see it as a competition!
Comment icon #18 Posted by 747400 15 years ago
If they're so smart, why are they still bugs? Why not rise up and take over the world? perhaps they already do.
Comment icon #19 Posted by zenfahr 15 years ago
If they're so smart, why are they still bugs? Why not rise up and take over the world? Ok why would they WANT to take over the world, they already out number us... so basically they rule already.
Comment icon #20 Posted by innerverse 15 years ago
Telepathetic dialogue between two insects: Insect no 1: "Oh, there are those humans again, they'll want to test us. I'm not going to say a word..." Insect no 2: "Nah, let's have some fun this time, i'll show them that we can count after all..." Insect no 1: "When do we plan to tell them that we actually rule this world from behind the scenes?" Insect no 2: "That will have to wait, they are not ready yet. They are too arrogant." Insect no 1: "Ok, i'm going first. Hope they manage to take some good photos of me, not like the other time around..."
Comment icon #21 Posted by cluey 15 years ago
Tiny insect brains can solve big problems? Then for heaven's sake, let's put them in charge of governments and banks. They could surely do a better job than the tiny insect brains currently running them. so true!!!!!!.........scientists must be getting bored! this all they have to study???????i don't see the point in knowing this info.........

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