Navigation Links
Tracking feline memories on the move
Date:8/20/2007

When a cat steps over an obstacle with its front legs, how do its hind legs know what to do" A new study in the August 21st issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press, reveals that it is the foreleg stepping movement itself that leaves a lasting impression. By comparison, feline memories of having just seen an obstacle proved rather fleeting.

Indeed, the researchers found that cats could remember having stepped over a hurdle for at least ten minutes. The findings suggest that cats working memories can extend much longer than earlier studies had shown, according to the researchers.

"We've found that the long-lasting memory for guiding the hind legs over an obstacle requires stepping of the forelegs over the obstacle," said Keir Pearson of the University of Alberta, Canada. The main surprise was how short lasting the visual memory on its own wasjust a few seconds when animals were stopped before their forelegs stepped over the obstacle.

The researchers examined the animals memories by stopping cats after their forelegs, but not their hind legs, had cleared an obstacle. They then distracted the animals with food and lowered the obstacle into the walking surface. The nature of the subsequent step revealed whether the animal remembered having stepped over the disappearing obstacle. To find out whether the cats remembered what they saw versus what they did, Pearsons group repeated the experiment, but this time they stopped the cats just before they made their first step.

The results revealed that when the animals stepped over the obstacle with the forelegs they remembered this action for a long time and stepped up with their hind legs to clear the necessary height. However, if the forelegs did not step over the obstacle, the memory of the obstacle was quickly lost; simply seeing that an obstacle lay in their path wasn't enough.

Animals, including humans, unconsciously keep track of the location of objects relative to the body as they move, and this tracking is largely dependent on signals associated with movement of the body, Pearson said.

Although it is not entirely clear how the four-legged stepping of cats relates to people, Pearson said such memories might play a role in humans ability to navigate objects in the darkfor example, when you move through a cluttered room in the light, turn out the light, and continue avoiding objects you can no longer see.

Rock climbers might experience a similar phenomenon, Pearson added. We have not tested this yet, but it is possible that the trajectory of the hands relative to potential impediments establishes a memory for guiding the trajectory of the feet in the absence of vision, he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nancy Wampler
nwampler@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New Technique for Tracking Gene Regulators
2. Findings have implications for tracking disease, drugs at the molecular level
3. Radio-tracking associated with dramatic shift in water vole sex ratio
4. How satellite tracking revealed the migratory mysteries of endangered Atlantic loggerhead turtles
5. UQ researcher tracking key to healing the brain
6. Tracking the memory trace
7. Concern over fast tracking of new drugs
8. New way of tracking muscle damage from radiation
9. Tracking sperm whales and jumbo squid
10. Philandering female felines forgo fidelity
11. Disrupting Cocaine-memories To Battle Addiction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/24/2016)... , Nov. 23, 2016 Cercacor today ... athletes and their trainers non-invasively measure hemoglobin, ... Pulse Rate, and Respiration Rate in approximately 30 seconds. ... users easy and immediate access to key data about ... of a training regimen. Hemoglobin carries ...
(Date:11/19/2016)... 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider of ... investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced today that it has ... have an independent technology judge determine who has the ... tech/sophisticated telephone calling platform, and the best customer service. ... most of what we do – which clearly is ...
(Date:11/15/2016)... 15, 2016  Synthetic Biologics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: ... on the gut microbiome, today announced the pricing ... of its common stock and warrants to purchase ... price to the public of $1.00 per share ... from the offering, excluding the proceeds, if any ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... control cells — optogenetics — is key to exciting advances in the study ... spatially patterned light projected via free-space optics stimulates small, transparent organisms and excites ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Anaconda BioMed S.L., a ... of the next generation neuro-thrombectomy system for the treatment ... Tudor G. Jovin, MD to join its Scientific Advisory ... a strategic network of scientific and clinical experts to ... of the ANCD BRAIN ® to its clinical ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Iowa (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... This ... asynchronous approvals for biotech crops. The authors focus on the economic effects in countries ... global approval of new biotech crops and the resultant risk of low level presence ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Savannah River Remediation LLC group evaluated ... NT-MAX Lake & Pond Sludge and Muck ... conjunction with Hexa Armor/ Rhombo cover manufactured by ... Discharge Elimination System requirements. The Savannah ... of elevated pH levels, above 8.5, especially during ...
Breaking Biology Technology: