When It’s Good to Be Antisocial
Sometimes everybody wins when you go it alone.
by Silvia Golumbeanu
Bees are emblems of social complexity. Their honeycombs—intricate lattices dripping with food—house bustling hive members carrying out carefully orchestrated duties like defending against predators and coordinating resource collection. Much of our own success is due to this sort of division of labor. Clearly, in the animal kingdom, it pays to be social: Certain neurons make us resent being alone. You could be forgiven for assuming that complex social organization is the—or at least a—pinnacle of evolution.
Yet out of the 20,000 known species of bees, only a few are social. Some bee species have even given up social behaviors, opting for the single life. Why?
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