Bees easily solve the Travelling Salesman maths problem

There’s a mathematical optimisation problem called the Travelling Salesman problem. The problem is: if a salesman has to visit several cities, what’s the shortest route he can take to visit them all? There are numerical methods to solve these sorts of problems, and they can take a long time, even with computers.

Researchers at the University of London have found that bees learn to solve these problems pretty quickly, though. They do so as they visit flowers, figuring out the optimum routes between them, despite having only tiny little brains. Maybe those brains have evolved this one really useful (for them) capability.