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Robotic food helps scientists understand predators

 Dr Ioannou hopes to learn how living predators react depending on the behaviour of their prey where, for the first time, the prey’s behaviour can be manipulated.
“Predators and their prey are locked in a dynamic interplay of evolved behaviour; predators try to maximise their intake, while unsuccessful prey do not live to see another day. This often culminates in dramatic behavioural displays, as cheetahs chase gazelles across the savannah, gannets dive bomb sardine shoals, and bats hunt moths through echolocation,” explains Dr Ioannou.
Studying these displays has always been difficult, both ethically and scientifically. Ethically as, without subjecting living animals to being chased, researchers are unable to study prey behaviour.

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