Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Winged Cartographer

Holy flying fruit bats!

The Egyptian fruit bat (pictured) uses neurons called place cells to draw mental maps of 3-D spaces.

The Egyptian fruit bat (pictured) uses neurons called place cells to draw mental maps of 3-D spaces.

Neurons called place cells help Egyptian fruit bats,Rousettus aegyptiacus, navigate three-dimensional spaces, researchers report April 18 in Science
By implanting electrodes in the bats’ brains and strapping on lightweight wireless recording devices to their heads, researchers measured neural activity as the animals flew up, down and around a room. Individual place cells perked up when bats zoomed through particular spaces, report Michael Yartsev and Nachum Ulanovsky of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.
Just as spots on a map represent locations, each place cell represented a specific area of the room.

Source: science news