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Social Biomimicry: what do ants and bees tell us about organization in the natural world?

Abstract

The social insects serve as exemplars for social biomimicry, the search for social design inspiration from the natural world. Although their group members are individually much simpler than humans, social insect colonies provide elegant tutorials on the large-scale outcomes that can be achieved by social interactions and self-organizational processes. These range from complex physical structures built by collective effort; to exemplars of flexible work organization; to effective consensus building in group decisions. This special issue highlights examples of the lessons to be learned from the bees and ants, providing ways to think about how humans can (and in some cases should not) borrow from social insect rules of organization and their collective outcomes.

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Correspondence to Jennifer H. Fewell.

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Fewell, J.H. Social Biomimicry: what do ants and bees tell us about organization in the natural world?. J Bioecon 17, 207–216 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10818-015-9207-2

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Keywords

  • Social biomimicry
  • Social insects
  • Self-organization
  • Collective behavior