Little Professor: Ants rank as first true animal teachers | Science News

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Little Professor: Ants rank as first true animal teachers

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12:20pm, January 11, 2006

No insult intended to human teachers, but a research team in England says that the first clear demonstration of true teaching among other animals comes from a species without much of a brain—an ant.

A variety of animals do things that onlookers learn to copy, but biologists have a stricter definition for true teaching, explains Nigel R. Franks of the University of Bristol in England. First, teachers do a task less efficiently than they would outside the classroom. Second, pupils of a true teacher learn faster than they would by themselves.

Franks and his Bristol colleague Tom Richardson added another requirement: feedback between teacher and student.

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