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Passage Discussion

The two authors address the issue of animal communication, describing several scientific studies conducted on it.

Passage A

The author of Passage A discusses a number of scientific advances in the understanding of honeybee communication through dance.
  • Paragraph One: The first paragraph introduces some of the original inquiries into honeybee dance, with Aristotle noting the behavior and von Frisch deciphering what specific dance elements represent (food location).

    Paragraph Two: In the second paragraph, the author continues the discussion of how our understanding of honeybee communication has evolved. Later scientists (Wenner and Esch) discovered that the dancing bees emit sound by wing vibrations. However, they mistakenly believed that honeybees lacked hearing, and so the significance of their discovery was not well understood. In fact, Wenner hypothesized that honeybees communicate by smell instead.

    Paragraph Three: The third paragraph revisits the notion that sound plays a role in bee communication. Gould disproved Wenner’s theory that honeybees communicate by smell, while Kirchner and Michelsen proved that bees do indeed convey information about food location via sound.

Passage B

Passage B discusses animal communication in more general terms.
  • Paragraph One: The passage opens with a broad description of animal communication, using the example of vervet monkeys and the specific warning cries they emit in the presence of various predators.

    Paragraph Two: The author mentions the discoveries of von Frisch and Wenner in the context of honeybee communication: the dance is symbolic, while odor does not play a role.

    Paragraph Three: The last paragraph adds an interesting caveat: bees do not automatically follow just any information. Instead, they only respond to food directions if the direction would take them to a logical food source (presumably where pollinating flowers would be present).
Passage Similarities and Differences

Both passages address the issue of animal communication and describe several scientific studies conducted on it. Furthermore, both authors mention the dancing of honeybees and how our understanding of it has evolved over time. Their tone is similar: respectful of the scientists’ work, even if some of their beliefs were ultimately disproven.

The only major difference between the two passages is that, while Passage A focuses exclusively on the phenomenon of foraging honeybee’s dance, Passage B broadens the scope of the discussion and uses the honeybee’s dance as an example of symbolic animal communication.

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