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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: How Bats Deal With Clutter
29 March 2010 4:34 pm
Bats navigate by bouncing their calls off every object that surrounds them, a behavior known as echolocation. But how do they keep things straight when several of these calls echo back at once? To find out, researchers trained big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) to fly through a dense maze of dangling plastic chains, then suddenly altered the maze path. Recordings from microphones placed on the bats' heads showed that the bats rapidly shifted the pitches of their calls up and down when navigating this new maze, allowing them to discriminate between multiple arriving echoes. It's as if the bats assign acoustic nametags to each call, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings might also apply to other animals who echolocate, such as whales and dolphins, further revealing how these animals' brains make sense of the noisy world around them.