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:4/24/2017)... April 24, 2017 Janice Kephart ... with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today ... without President Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive ... , refugee vetting can be instilled with greater confidence, ... now, all refugee applications are suspended by until ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D ... will run alongside the expo portion of the event ... and demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing ... and manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... BROOKLYN, N.Y. , April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... identical fingerprints, but researchers at the New York ... University College of Engineering have found that partial ... fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and ... previously thought. The vulnerability lies in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/20/2017)... Aurora, Ohio (PRWEB) , ... September 20, 2017 ... ... automation, systems integration, and building management solutions, announced today the opening of an ... customers in Taiwan and the Greater China region, while developing new relationships in ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... Participants of this educational ... fume hood. Along with the advantages and disadvantages of ductless, filtered fume hoods, ... in the laboratory. , Attendees will learn from an industry expert about the ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... , ... September 19, 2017 , ... VetStem Biopharma ’s CEO and founder, Dr. ... PhD in Riordan’s new book "Stem Cell Therapy: A Rising Tide". Dr. Harman and ... They bonded over an interest in the potential of stem cell therapy and a ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Calif. and Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... September ... ... delivering rapid care during an biological outbreak is about to be eliminated, said ... asked what makes ExcitePCR’s FireflyDX™ technologies different than other pathogen detection ...
Breaking Biology Technology: