23 Jun
Could Fruit Flies Be Smarter Than We Think? Could Fruit Flies Be Smarter Than We Think?

Could Fruit Flies Be Smarter Than We Think?

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Insects are assumed to be simple beings, existing to mate, eat, and survive human attack. But new research from a team at Oxford University suggests fruit flies may be more complex than humans originally realized.

While watching fruit flies interact, researchers noticed they tended to pause to gather information before deciding between different types of odors in increasingly close concentrations. Prior to the test, the flies had been trained to avoid a specific concentration of that odor. As the odors were more separate from each other, the fruit flies seemed to be able to be able to make quicker decisions.

When faced with odors that weren't quite as distinct, the fruit flies showed greater hesitation, especially fruit flies with mutation in the gene that is believed to be involved in the decision-making process for fruit flies. Scientists believe that one sign of higher intelligence is thinking before taking action. The research project's lead author explained that in the moments preceding a decision being made, the brain collects information, comparing the process to the way a bucket gathers water. The decision comes after the bucket has been filled to a certain level.

Details about the research results can be found in the journal Science.

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Read 2836 times Last modified on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 15:26
Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and novelist whose work has appeared on,, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of 8 children's books, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series, 25 Roses, and 30 Days of No Gossip.

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