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The Waggle Dance

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This weekend I had the privilege of attending the Bowen Center’s annual Symposium. The main presenter was Dr. Thomas Seeley, a biology professor at Cornell who studies the phenomenon of swarm intelligence in honey bees.

Dr. Seeley gave a presentation about how honeybees solve the dilemma of finding a new home. Bee scouts will individually visit a potential location, and when they return, they will perform a “waggle dance” for the others which communicates the distance and direction of the prospective site. The level of enthusiasm in their dance also indicates just how sweet the spot is. Over time, in true democratic form, the bees will keep voting via waggle dancing until there is a consensus on the new home.

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