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:1/20/2016)... Jan. 20, 2016  Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: ... solutions, today announced sampling of S1423, its newest ... and small screen applications including smartwatches, fitness trackers, ... round and rectangular shapes, as well as thick ... with moisture on screen, while wearing gloves, and ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... 2016 Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... that its ClearPad ® TouchView ™ 4300 ... separate categories in the 8 th Annual Mobile ... Breakthrough. The Synaptics ® TDDI solution enables faster ... thinner devices, brighter displays and borderless designs. ...
(Date:1/7/2016)... Jan. 7, 2016 Various factors have ... products such as biologics and biosimilars. Some of ... healthcare expenditure, growing demand for cost-effective alternatives, growing ... Biosimilars are similar versions of their corresponding patented ... their quality, safety, and efficacy. The global biosimilars ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... ... Information Management Services ( IMS ) is pleased to announce a major ... foundation and is so significant it was endowed with a new name, BSI Engage. ... results, a streamlined layout and a more intuitive format for navigating the system. ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) announced today that its new website has gone live. On Thursday, Feb. ... Visit the new site: www.diplomat.is ... ... ... "The goal was to reimagine the website and create a ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... 2016  In the pharmaceutical industry the medical affairs ... launch activities including the identification and engagement of key ... especially high in the oncology therapeutic area where most ... the Role of Medical Affairs in Oncology Launch Excellence ... therapies find better ways to utilize medical affairs to ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... New FDA action date of July 22, ... July 22, 2016   --> - ... - Lifitegrast has the potential to be the only ... signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in adults --> ... approved in the U.S. in the past decade indicated for the treatment of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: