Navigation Links
Chickadees can help humans get their bearings

How did University of Alberta researchers discover that animals zig when they were only supposed to zag? A little birdie told them.

In studying the spatial memory of wild-caught mountain chickadees, University of Alberta researchers were surprised to discover the birds contradicting prior research that showed how animals navigate. This study is the first to reveal a different pattern. Previously, only animals that had been raised in human-made enclosures had been tested.

The findings are published in the July issue of Biology Letters.

To get their bearings, humans and other animals are often guided by the geometrical shape of their environment. For example, humans have an easy time distinguishing the door located at the ends of a hallway from those located in the middle, but may confuse doors at the two ends, such as when they re-enter a hallway in a hotel. "This has been observed in every species tested, even when landmarks alone could be used, suggesting that animals are predisposed to go by geometry," said co-author Dr. Chris Sturdy, a professor of psychology and member of the Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Alberta.

The wild-caught chickadees differed from all previously tested animals by ignoring angular features of their environment and following landmarks instead. Although able to learn geometry when guiding themselves to food in lab experiments, the birds consistently ignored the concept when a prominent landmark, in this case a blue wall, was present.

"Getting oriented is an important part of solving many spatial navigational problems, such as locating your car in the parking lot at the end of a long day in the office. This discovery points to the fact that our early experiences influence how we solve such problems and could mean that by varying the environments that we encounter early in life, we could broaden and hone our spatial navigation abilities," said Dr. Sturdy and Dr. Marcia Spetch, who supervise d the work conducted by graduate students Emily Gray and Laurie Bloomfield.

The findings also suggest the need for more research outside of lab environments, Dr. Sturdy said. "We have to look away from lab species and look at the diversity out there. There could be a lot of other species that have other ways of doing things."


'"/>

Source:University of Alberta


Related biology news :

1. Yale researchers identify molecule for detecting parasitic infection in humans
2. Friendly bacteria in humans may protect against HIV
3. The lopsided brain: Attention bias is shared by humans and birds
4. Oldest cranial, dental and postcranial fossils of early modern European humans confirmed
5. Retrovirus struck ancestors of chimpanzees and gorillas millions of years ago, but did not affect ancestral humans
6. UI researcher studies deafness in fruit flies, humans
7. Study shows humans have ability to track odors, much like bloodhounds
8. Caloric restriction wont dramatically extend life span in humans: UCLA research
9. Study identifies gene in mice that may control risk-taking behavior in humans
10. Primate virus jumps species barrier to humans for first time in Asia
11. When in danger humans are similar to a deer in the headlights
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/5/2017)... -- KEY FINDINGS The global market for ... of 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The ... the growth of the stem cell market. ... INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is segmented on ... stem cell market of the product is segmented into ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University ... adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing ... for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has ... Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on ... . In addition, CHS previously earned a place ... an electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS ... of EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 18, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u has added ... is a two-hour team-building package designed for groups of 10-30 people. Guests ... which include items, such as Blackened Shrimp with Edamame Salad, Pizza Rolls with ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... , ... May 17, 2017 ... ... standards with psychonneuroendocrine stress expertise, and further enhances its scientific power by ... Douglas A. Granger, Ph.D., has agreed to join the scientific advisory board. ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... HOLLOWAY AMERICA, a leading ... and dairy, munitions, and pharmaceutical/biotech, recently introduced The Revolution Lift™, a new precision-controlled ... improvement in technology comes on the heels of HOLLOWAY’s release of the intelliVessel™, ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... 2017 , ... When James Sherley, was notified earlier this year that his company Asymmetrex ... 2017 by The Silicon Review , he was not surprised as others might be. ... but this recognition by Silicon Valley was particularly meaningful. Our selection by ...
Breaking Biology Technology: