PerspectiveNeurobiology

Cross-modal sensory transfer: Bumble bees do it

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Science  21 Feb 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6480, pp. 850-851
DOI: 10.1126/science.aba8519

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Summary

Animal sensory systems acquire information about the physical world by transforming external stimuli into signals that can be read and interpreted by the nervous system. Animals possess several senses that provide separate streams of information based on different physical stimuli. However, objects and environments contain inherently multimodal information. Thus, neurobiologists have sought to define the mechanisms by which information is processed when it is received by different senses (1). Cross-modal recognition—the ability to transfer information across senses, irrespective of the sense that first accessed that information—is a highly complex cognitive capacity that was thought to be limited to vertebrates. Now, on page 910 of this issue, Solvi et al. (2) show that bumble bees are capable of performing the same task.

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