Sunday, July 20, 2008

Honey bees dance in the 6th dimension!!!

"Honeybees don’t have much in the way of brains. Their inch-long bodies hold at most a few million neurons. Yet with such meager mental machinery honeybees sustain one of the most intricate and explicit languages in the animal kingdom. In the darkness of the hive, bees manage to communicate the precise direction and distance of a newfound food source, and they do it all in the choreography of a dance."

In one of those serendipidous discoveries that happen when odd worlds collide, a mathematician who grew up with a father that happened to be a beekeeper has discovered that the honey bee dance pattern is the projection of a [formerly] theoretical 6th-dimension shape!

I tell you, anytime you start thinking that the world isn't a strange enough place, the insects quickly change your mind. I can't even conceptualize 6 mutually perpendicular spatial dimensions [much less dance in them]--maybe I have too many neurons.

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