Picture of the week: The filter in the bat brain

Glassed paper nose on a night flight

Bats travel safely to their destination even in the dark. To do this, they constantly emit sounds in the ultrasound range. Their ultra-high-definition hearing picks up on the reflections that the flying animals then use to orient themselves. All this has been known for a long time. What hasn’t been well researched yet: how an animal’s brain sorts sounds and filters crucial sounds.

Researchers led by Manfred Kossel and Johannes Wittkamm of Goethe University Frankfurt examined paper-nosed bats. (Carolia Percelata). Scientists have their results In the specialized journal “European Journal of Neuroscience” chest. Leaf noses, widespread in large parts of South America, were put into a psychedelic sleep and measured electrodes as tiny as a hair placed under the scalp. Then the research group played two different tones at different frequencies. He found that the animals’ brains reacted more strongly to rare and unexpected sounds than to frequent ones.

The team of scientists was surprised to discover that the signals are actually processed in the brain stem of bats. Until now, experts only suspected that this area of ​​the brain was used to record sounds and not to process them. Perhaps not only can the bat’s brain save energy in this way, but it can also respond more quickly to signals.

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