When swarming bees make a decision to set up a new colony, they send out scouts. On return, scouts communicate their findings by means of their waggle dance. New research shows that, to promote their information, scouts headbutt other scouts who may be dancing to a different tune, eventually prompting them to stop. (h/t Ars Technica) Once enough dissenting scouts are thus silenced, the dancers of the prevailing dance get to make the decision where the swarm should settle.
I like the idea that the bees apparently have a sure-fire mechanism to reach consensus, and I wish human beings had that, too, especially Congress. But the research does not indicate whether the winners of the Annual Apian Headbutt Derby had in fact come up with the optimal site for the new hive. And so, maybe, given the fundamental issues facing us today, the apparent chaos and standoff we’re experiencing is a good idea.