|Town/Region||Long Mountain, Yemen|
|Date||19 Apr 2017|
The use of cognitive maps and of episodic memory are both considered to be very high cognitive functions and it is highly debated whether non-human mammals possess them. A cognitive map is often defined as the ability to move in a new route that is unfamiliar to the animal between two known sites (i.e., a shortcut). This is very hard to prove in wild animals because their movement history is unknown, meaning that they could have taken any route in the past.
Therefore one of the objectives of this study is to track the movement of females and their pups to indicate whether the offspring learn how to navigate from their mothers and to examine if they build up a cognitive map at an early stage of life.
Episodic-like memory is defined as the ability to remember when and where a specific event occurred (a ‘what-where-when’ combination). It has hardly been studied in the field because of the difficulty to track animals over very long time periods. Because fruits are seasonal and relatively easy to predict in space, fruit bats seem to be the ideal candidates for evolving such a cognitive ability, remembering which fruit is available where at each season. This study aims to provide strong evidence for such long term mapping of the environment.
Read about Ryszard's previous projects http://www.rufford.org/projects/ryszard_oleksy_0 or for more information contact: