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:4/15/2016)... DUBLIN , April 15, 2016 ... of the,  "Global Gait Biometrics Market 2016-2020,"  report ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) , ,The global gait ... CAGR of 13.98% during the period 2016-2020. ... movement angles, which can be used to compute ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... RATON, Florida , March 29, 2016 ... or the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are ... DNA in ink used in a variety of writing ... theft. Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes on ... through forensic analysis of the DNA. ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... 18, 2016 --> ... ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter Surveillance ... in the border security market and the continuing migration crisis ... Europe has led visiongain to publish this ... --> defence & security companies in the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Kinder ... several positive developments that position the Company for the future. Kinder Scientific ... Craig F. Kinghorn has been appointed Chairman of the Board, Curtis D. Kinghorn ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... The Ankle ... plating options designed to address fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. This ... Acumed Ankle Plating System 3 is composed of seven plate families that span ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... WEDI, the nation’s leading authority on the use of health ... has been named by the WEDI Board of Directors as WEDI’s president and CEO. ... with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, association management and organizational leadership, ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016   MedyMatch Technology Ltd ., ... artificial intelligence, real-time decision support tools in the emergency room, ... the 2016 Israeli Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) BioMed Conference. ... Israel,s 15th National Life Sciences and Technology Week, ... David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel ...
Breaking Biology Technology: