Bats Get Pitchy to Make 3-D Echolocation Map

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Bats Get Pitchy to Make 3-D Echolocation Map

Postby Evan G » Mar 29, 2010 6:45 pm

Bats Get Pitchy to Make 3-D Echolocation Map

:bat sticker:

By Alexis Madrigal
March 29, 2010
Via Wired News > Wired Science

Bats can subtly adjust the frequency of the sounds they use to do echolocation to adjust to particularly cluttered terrain.

In a laboratory testing room filled with dangling plastic chains, bats wearing tiny, half-gram microphones were recorded flying through the obstacle course. When confronted with the forest of chains, the bats tended to reduce or increase the sounds they emitted by a few kilohertz. On their return flights, the path is clear and they stop tweaking their frequencies.

The researchers hypothesize that using multiple frequencies helps the bats resolve their environments faster than using single sound could allow.

“It’s all a matter of matching the broadcast to the echo,” said Mary Bates, a biology graduate student at Brown University and a co-author of the new study March 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “It’s a matter of ignoring or not processing the things that are going to interfere and doing this careful matching of sound to echo.”

Cont. Wired News > Wired Science

Direct link to Abstract:
FM echolocating bats shift frequencies to avoid broadcast–echo ambiguity in clutter
    1. Shizuko Hiryu
    2. Mary E. Bates
    3. James A. Simmons
    4. Hiroshi Riquimaroux
Evan G
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