Bats found a short cut to the house with the help of cognitive maps

Israeli zoologists proved the existence of cognitive maps at bats. Within three months after the birth of animals, the researchers observed their movements and found that they can find the shortest path between two points, even if you’ve never flown on such a route. In addition, bats that are actively researched areas and flew away from home, was returning in a straight line, if people take them to the unknown point. Article published in the journal Science.

Cognitive map is the image of land which is used for navigation. If the animal has a cognitive map of space, it can find the shortest path between two points, even if you have never passed by this route. However, to experimentally test the ability to spontaneously build optimal routes in the natural conditions is difficult — it may be that before you start observing individual more than once went this way and simply repeats randomly open the route, not invents it according to the cognitive map.

Scientists from tel Aviv University under the guidance of Yossi Yovel (Yossi Yovel) studied the flight paths of twenty-two Egyptian flying dogs, or the Nile fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) from birth. Animal attached GPS trackers and within three months gathering information on their movements.

Bats gradually expanded home range (up to 70 day of their lives its area reached 60 square kilometers) and has found new fruit trees, the fruits of which you eat. In the part of the night the animals explored new territory — so they were able to discover new trees, and in the other they were flying in familiar places to eat. All twenty-two of Pteropus found the shortest path between objects — the flying dog fly directly between familiar trees, and did not return to the colony. Just registered 125 such flights average distance of half a kilometer.

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