Homeward Bound: How the Bee Brain Can Navigate Back to the Hive

Homeward Bound: How the Bee Brain Can Navigate Back to the Hive

Contributed by Marielle Grenade-Willis

A new study conducted by the University of Edinburgh has revealed that a “complex navigation system” of neurons within a bee’s brain enables it to take note of directional changes on a journey as well as allow it to remember how to return to its hive. “The neurons are located in a part of the insect brain called the central complex. Scientists found this region plays a pivotal role in controlling the navigation system — known as path integration or ‘dead reckoning’ — which is used by many animals, including bees, ants and humans.” Such a fascinating new discovery like this debunks the myth that animals simply use “instinct” to know where they are going or how to return to a particular place. Really it is a process of neural communication not dissimilar from our own.