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Have you watched cute cat videos or funny dog compilations? Or primates “monkeying around”? Then you know that mammals love to play. Even the dancing cockatiel has gone viral! But have you ever considered whether insects play “for fun”? 

We did an experiment to test whether bumble bees take part in object play. We wanted to see whether they would interact and play with wooden balls. We found that the bumble bees did play with a ball-rolling action. Their behavior fulfilled our expectations of play in animals. What’s more, they also found it rewarding! We ruled out the possibility that the ball rolling was an attempt to look for food or to mate. This suggests that bumble bees may be more capable of feeling than we had thought!

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About this article

Reading level
Scientific topic
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
Type of figure
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
April 2024

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