Many species of bats use echolocation to orient themselves and to hunt their insect prey, but they also rely on a pretty detailed memory to find their way around, a new study suggests. Their seemingly erratic flight patterns are not erratic after all--they’re following detailed internal maps. Let's call it batnav.
Jonathan Barchi and colleagues at Brown University wanted to figure out how bats seemingly remember complex flight patterns that take them through obstacles, dense clouds of other bats, and to feeding grounds far away from their cave dwellings. They send and receive calls at superfast speeds, but they also fly pretty quickly, so they don’t have much time to orient themselves in a given location.
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