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September 12, 2016

The Buzz about Bees: Biology of a Superorganism


This book, already translated into ten languages, may at first sight appear to be just about honeybees and their biology. It contains, however, a number of deeper messages related to some of the most basic and important principles of modern biology. The bees are merely the actors that take us into the realm of physiology, genetics, reproduction, biophysics and learning, and that introduce us to the principles of natural selection underlying the evolution of simple to complex life forms. The book destroys the cute notion of bees as anthropomorphic icons of busy self-sacrificing individuals and presents us with the reality of the colony as an integrated and independent being - a “superorganism” - with its own, almost eerie, emergent group intelligence.

We are surprised to learn that no single bee, from queen through drone to sterile worker, has the oversight or control over the colony, instead, through a network of integrated control systems and feedbacks, and communication between individuals, the colony arrives at consensus decisions from the bottom up through a type of “swarm intelligence”. Indeed, there are remarkable parallels between the functional organization of a swarming honeybee colony and vertebrate brains.

Author: Jürgen Tautz
Hardcover: 284 pages
Publisher: Springer; 1st edition (May 20, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 3540787275
ISBN-13: 978-3540787273
PDF 22.8 MB

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