We are always surprised and amazed by the incredible things we discover in God’s creation as we learn more about our world. For years, entomologists have theorized that bees use circadian rhythms to estimate the passage of time.
Circadian rhythms are the natural cycles of life, usually defined by the 24-hour cycle of light and dark. They’re what makes us morning people or night owls and why we feel discombobulated every time we switch Daylight Savings Time on or off. But they’re not just for humans. Scientists say they’re part of life of everything on earth – animals, plants, even microbes.
So it was easy to assume that bees used these rhythms to “know” when to go pollinate certain flowers and plants, just like they navigate by the sun. But several recent experiments have proved something even deeper.
Strangely enough, the discoveries gained popular attention as a result of social media. A college student posted on Tik Tok about his thesis project on time perception.
Researchers left sugar water outside of a bee hive every day at 4pm for a certain period of time. As a result, the bees started coming out at 4pm exactly every day – even when there was no sugar water. If this rings a bell, it’s similar to Pavlov’s experiments with dogs. But instead of an external stimuli – the bell ringing – the bees just knew when to emerge.
Because of the circadian rhythm theory, they repeated the experiment in total darkness. The bees still came out – exactly at 4pm. They moved the next experiment to an underground salt mine – with the same results.
For the final experiment, scientists “trained” the bees with the sugar water in Paris, France. Then they flew the hive to New York City. The Big Apple is 6 hours behind Paris. And remarkably enough, the bees came out right at 10am – 4pm Paris time.
If you’d like to check out the scientific explanation of bees possessing the “neural representation of time,” you can read it here. But the consensus is that the bees can ‘tell the future’ based on their past.
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