Honeyguides and Humans

I've always been fascinated by the ancient relationship between bees and humans. We have in fact played a part in driving the evolution of aggressive characteristics in honeybees. It is not by chance that African bees are more aggressive, it is because of the human passion for honey and the ancient art of honey hunting in Africa, which possibly dates back to the origin of our species itself. As part of this co-evolutionary processes, as bees increased their aggressive tactics, humans found ways around it. Humans have become very adept at managing honeybee aggressiveness. Now enter the honeyguide bird, which enjoys feeding on beeswax. The honeyguide bird is unable to subdue the aggressive African honeybee, but humans can. By guiding humans to a honeybee nest, the bird is able to get the reward without the risk of being stung. Humans intentionally leave beeswax behind for the birds, as 'payment' for leading them to the bees nest. This is behavioral co-evolution at it's best.



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