PerspectiveEcology

Bats navigate with cognitive maps

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Science  10 Jul 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6500, pp. 142
DOI: 10.1126/science.abd1213

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Summary

A cognitive map can allow an animal to navigate from its current position to an undetected goal. There is a long-standing, ongoing debate about which animals have and use cognitive maps (13). On pages 188 and 194 of this issue, Toledo et al. (4) and Harten et al. (5), respectively, show that Egyptian fruit bats (see the figure) use cognitive maps, as evidenced by taking previously unused shortcuts. These are movements between two known sites that are beyond detectable range of one another. Shortcuts are strong evidence of cognitive maps.

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