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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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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.