Scientists have discovered that locusts literally look where they’re going, and this discovery about the importance of visual input may mean that bugs are a lot smarter than we thought they were. Literally (that second literally is courtesy of Jeremy Clarkson).
That is not good news in the War on Animals.
It’s being reported from researchers at Cambridge University in the UK that locusts have been observed climbing ladder-like structures to investigate whether or not they used vision to guide them. The fact that they did means that they’re displaying a level of visual brain processing previously believed to be too great for insects, according to the study’s Dr. Jeremy Niven:
The visual control of limb placement in the locusts suggests that this can be achieved by much smaller-brained insects. It’s another example of insects performing a behavior we previously thought was restricted to relatively big-brained animals with sophisticated motor control, such as humans, monkeys or octopuses.
Next up, we expect Cambridge scientists to probably set up a chess match between an octopus and a locust to decide which is more intelligent. Whoever wins that game, we all lose. Also, the octopus will probably try to squirm out of match. After all, it is in its nature.