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Download the Nature Podcast 6 March 2024

In this episode:

00:48 Bumblebees can learn from each other new tricks

One behaviour thought unique to humans is the ability to learn something from your predecessors that you couldn’t figure out on your own. However, researchers believe they have shown bumblebees are also capable of this ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ approach to learning. Bees that were taught how to complete a puzzle too difficult to solve on their own, were able to share this knowledge with other bees, raising the possibility that this thought-to-be human trait could be widespread amongst animals.

Research article: Bridges et al.

News and Views: Bees and chimpanzees learn from others what they cannot learn alone

16:55 Research Highlights

Why the Krakatau eruption made the skies green, and the dining habits of white dwarf stars.

Research Highlight: Why sunsets were a weird colour after Krakatau blew its top

Research Highlight: This dying star bears a jagged metal scar

19:28 The fish that collectively, electrically sense

Many ocean-dwelling animals sense their environment using electric pulses, which can help them hunt and avoid predators. Now research shows that the tiny elephantnose fish can increase the range of this sense by combining its pulses with those of other elephantnose fish. This allows them to discriminate and determine the location of different objects at a much greater distance than a single fish is able to. This is the first time a collective electric sense has been seen in animals, which could provide an ‘early-warning system’, allowing a group to avoid predators from a greater distance.

Research Article: Pedraja and Sawtell

27:54 Briefing Chat

The organoids made from cells derived from amniotic fluid, and the debate over the heaviest animal.

Nature News: Organoids grown from amniotic fluid could shed light on rare diseases

The New York Times: Researchers Dispute Claim That Ancient Whale Was Heaviest Animal Ever

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