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‘Bees are sentient’

The Guardian: inside the stunning brains of nature’s hardest workers…This March, Stephen Buchmann [a pollination ecologist] released a book that unpacks just how varied and powerful a bee’s mind really is. The book, What a Bee Knows: Exploring the Thoughts, Memories and Personalities of Bees, draws from his own research and dozens of other studies to paint a remarkable picture of bee behavior and psychology. It argues that bees can demonstrate sophisticated emotions resembling optimism, frustration, playfulness and fear, traits more commonly associated with mammals. Experiments have shown bees can experience PTSD-like symptoms, recognize different human faces, process long-term memories while sleeping, and maybe even dream. Buchmann is part of a small but growing group of scientists doing what he calls “fringe” research seeking to understand the full emotional capacity of bees. His research has radically changed the way he relates to the insects – not only does he now avoid killing them in his house, he has also significantly reduced lethal and insensitive treatment of specimens for his research.

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