PerspectiveNeuroscience

3D Mapping in the Brain

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Science  19 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6130, pp. 279-280
DOI: 10.1126/science.1237569

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Summary

What's it like to be a bat? If a rat could fly and echolocate, would it navigate and determine its position in the same way? In other words, could the rat truly understand three-dimensional (3D) space? Or is a bat's brain functionally specialized for life in the air? On pages 367 and 363 of this issue, Yartsev et al. (1) and Heys et al. (2) examine the neural encoding of 3D space and basic neuronal processing in bats and discover fundamental differences in the way species represent their own location.