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Press Release 08-107

What It's Like to Be a Bat

Bats' vocal sonar does more than locate objects; it cues memory and assists flight

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Photo of bats emerging from their roost.

New research explores data that shows the high-pitched chirps bats make produce changes in brain activity that may be important for helping them "picture" and analyze their environment, turn their head and ears, and cue memory. The research, which looks beyond the last 40 years of research into how bats process sound, may eventually benefit people who are blind.

Credit: National Park Service


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Cynthia Moss, a member of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science program at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md., talks about how bats emit sounds and use echolocation to picture environments, cue memory and assist flight.

Credit: University of Maryland and National Science Foundation

 

Photo of a bat pursuing a moth.

When a bat pursues prey such as a moth, it computes the 3D location of objects in its environment from information carried by the echoes of its voice.

Credit: Photo by Jessica Nelson


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