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How bat moms help puppies navigate the world

Egyptian fruit bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus) in flight. Taken on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, Israel. Credit: Zoharby / Wikipedia

Mother: They take you to this world, take a careful shower, and watch you build a mind map of your local foraging site while you’re a flightless child still stuck on their nipples. I will help.


New research published in Current biology On Wednesday, Israeli researchers show how mammalian parents help their children learn important life skills as they run through the night to avoid predators and find figs. I will clarify.

“How animals (including humans) acquire behavioral skills is a fundamental issue,” Yossi Yovel, a scientist at Tel Aviv University and one of the three authors of the paper, told AFP. Told.

“We know that animals do amazing things. For example, bats travel tens of kilometers every night looking for food. We always learn how animals do. I was wondering. “

Many bat seeds carry their youth in flight, Energy cost The benefits for puppies in transporting puppies, which can be up to 40% of the mother’s weight, were unclear. It has been hypothesized that this may be to promote learning for young people, but it has never been proven.

GPS tracker

To ensure investigation, Yovel and his colleagues placed miniaturized GPS trackers in dozens of mother-child pairs as their offspring transitioned from addiction to independence.

Co-author Aya Goldshtein said he was able to document a series of different patterns.

“Initially, mothers and puppies are always attached, fly together, and mothers carry puppies all night,” she explained. It is the first to third week of the life of a young mammal.

Next is the “drop off” phase. Mother’s Carry your puppy and park it on a tree a few kilometers (miles) away from the colony.

At this stage, in 3-10 weeks, the mother will continue to return from foraging to check, feed and warm the child.

Then, in 8-10 weeks, the puppy begins to fly alone to the same drop-off site in the middle of the night and returns to the roost before dawn. However, the mother’s work is not completely completed and she will continue to check in.

“Imagine a teenager at home. He’s already a kind of independent, but I also want to monitor that he’s not doing stupid things like not returning home at the end of the night. “Goldshtein said. Or, when the puppies can’t jump out alone, their mother carries them again.

Finally, after 10 weeks, puppies use the drop-off site as a starting point for an independent search for new fruit trees.

In essence, these sites serve as navigation aids to help young people leave and return home.

As a control, the team raised some puppies without a mother, and found that they often couldn’t find a way to return to their cave before sunrise.

In addition, these sites help mothers find capricious young people.

“These trees are a bit like a meeting place for lost children. amusement park“Yobel said.

Drop-off sites also act as secondary roosts, and having many of them helps reduce the exposure of puppies to predators such as owls.

The word “t”

“One of the crazy parts of this paper was actually learning when the puppy was mounted upside down,” said co-author Lee Harten. She added that “his eyes are open and he is actually collecting information while being passively transferred.”

This suggests that the puppy’s brain inverts the visual input into an upright image.

Harten is pleased to contribute to the scientific gap in how animals support youth learning. This is especially true among bats, which make up one-fifth of all mammals on the planet, but have not yet been studied.

The team showed that when a bat’s mother gave birth, she changed her behavior, invested energy in a particular behavior, and the offspring learned as a result of that behavior, but they said in the study the word “teach.” Hesitate to use. As anthropomorphic by the scientific community.

“To prove the teachings, we have to show our intentions, which is very difficult in animals (you can’t just ask them),” says Yovel.

“I call this teaching, but to be careful, they say put the puppies in a position where they can learn.”


Young bats learn bat “dialects” from their nest companions


For more information:
Aya Goldshtein et al, Mother Bats Facilitate Navigation Learning for Puppies, Current biology (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.cub.2021.11.010

© 2021 AFP

Quote: Mothers know best: How Bat Mom helps puppies navigate the world (November 25, 2021) https://phys.org/news/2021-11-mother- Obtained November 25, 2021 from moms-pups-world.html

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How bat moms help puppies navigate the world

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