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Scientists have discovered that these amazing spiral beehives have a lot in common with crystals | Instant News


Humans have turned the construction of space into an art form, but we are not the only species with such dazzling achievements. A particular species of stingless bees in Southeast Asia and Australia really took this idea to the next level, creating spiral beehives comparable to bees in New York. Guggenheim.

We know bees are smart, but how to do this is still a mystery Quadrangle bee Try to create intricate spirals, bullseye and other irregularly shaped beehives.

Now, a team of international researchers has stepped up its search. Surprisingly, when scientists used mathematical models to study the patterns found in beehives, they found that the creation of beehives was surprisingly similar to the formation of crystals.

(A. Elke Haege, bd. Tim Heard)

Above: (a) target or bullseye pattern (T. carbonaria), (b) spiral (T. carbonaria), (c) double spiral (T. carbonaria) and (d) more disorderly terraces (T. hockingsi) Structure.

“Crystal growth and honeycomb structure are two systems operating in very different scientific fields. So, what are the reasons for similar structures? This is the beauty of the applicability of mathematics to nature.” The researchers wrote in the paper.

“It turns out that in different fields of science, similar laws and similar principles govern the formation of very different systems, so they are described by the same mathematics.”

As you can see in the image below, the honeycomb is not a flat structure. Instead, these layers are raised to allow bees to enter the terraces below. The researchers write that this can be imagined as a bee version of the spiral building of the Guggenheim Museum. The Guggenheim Museum is a structure of the 20th century and is known as one of the most important buildings in New York.

Bee Spiral vs GuggenheimSpiral beehive and Guggenheim spiral level. (Tim Heard; Wallygva / Wikimedia / CC BY 3.0)

One of the researchers, Julyan Cartwright, an interdisciplinary physicist at the University of Granada, told ScienceAlert: “One of us-Antonio Osuna showed me some pictures of bee combs and I was hooked.”

“Since then, we have figured out the appearance of these patterns on bees, and we have been able to draw developmental ideas from the study of crystal growth and how mollusks make mother-of-pearl (mother-of-pearl), which shows a very similarity to that of bees. Spiral and goal pattern.”

When the team modeled how this structure is formed, they used two parameters to model the honeycomb. The first is the R value-meaning that different patterns are formed according to the radius of a layer of honeycomb cells.

Then α-provides a random probability distribution. In crystal growth, this may be caused by impurities; in honeycomb construction, it will be the degree to which bees can flatten the layer.

The larger the R, the larger each layer of the bull’s-eye or spiral will be, and the smaller will be overall. The larger the α, the more “chaotic” the terraces will be.

Figure 5 disorder(Cardoso et al., JR Social Interface, 2020)

However, despite our knowledge of a model, this does not really explain why this genus of bees produces such incredible patterns, rather than just building conventional old honeycomb layers.

Although research based on mathematical models alone cannot explain exactly why bees do this, the team believes that this is not a master plan, but rather some behavioral rules that encourage bees to use only “local information” to create these structures.

“When we do manual construction, we usually hire an architect to design the entire structure. This is global information,” Cartwright explained.

“It’s hard to imagine how bees would design combs by architects. But, if bees don’t use global information, how would they build them? For us humans, this is brick by brick without the architect’s plan. Build houses. We will show how bees can do this with only local information.”

This is definitely not the last news we heard about bee smarts- Swing dance, mathematics, And the incredible spiral houses, we are sure they still have attractive sleeves.

The research has been published in Royal Society Interface Journal.

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