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Q Rev Biol. 1976 Jun;51(2):211-44.

The quarterly review of biology.


In recent years, the evidence suggesting that honey bees communicate with a "dance language" has been stronly attached on both theoretical and experimental grounds. An alternative theory has been proposed by which bees are supposed to use only odors to locate sources of food. A review of the evolution of the controversy isolates and analyzes the main issues. Early experiments which she fundamental problem in this important dispute has been that dancing bees advertise a food location with site-specific odoer information as well as symbolic distance and direction coordinates. A new technique has overcome this problem and demonstrated that von Frisch's dance language theory is, on the whole, correct. The apparently contradictory results of Wenner and his colleagues are shown to be due to their techniques for training bees. The dance-language controversy raises issues beyond how bees communicate. These include whether and when "evolutionary" arguments are useful, and to what extent Kuhn's scientific revolution paradign fits the dispute.

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