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Researchers find 3D compass cells in bats’ brains

Researchers find 3D compass cells in bats’ brains

FRANCE: According to a new study by researchers from Weizmann Institute that 3D compass is existence in the brain of bats. The researchers declared that there are neurons in the brains of bats that sense which means head of the bat is pointed and it could help the animal to find the way in 3D space.
The research has also shown how the brain calculates a sense of the vertical direction by combining it with the horizontal. It was found that these directions are calculated separately in the neural compass at different levels of complexity.
As per researchers, locomotion along surfaces happens due to 2D head-direction cells, while the 3D cells could be help in complex exercises in space like climbing tree branches and moving through multi-story buildings in case of humans.
The study suggests that head-direction cells in the hippocampal formation act as 3D neural compass. As per scientists, their discovery should also be applicable to non-flying mammals such as squirrels and monkeys along with humans.
Scientists found that the bats navigate in night and succeed in complex maneuvers in flight easily due to a three-dimensional ‘compass’ in their brains.
Researchers explained that the bats are able to orient themselves in space perfectly because of specialized brain cells. A video was used by scientists for tracking the complex movements of bats and recorded their brain activity through implanted wireless microelectrode.
The findings verified that cells in the bats’ brains served as neural compasses and instructed them in space in three dimensions.
“Basically what we found is that if you want to direct your head at a tree branch that’s at a certain elevation and angle from you. You want to compute this 3D direction. This ‘3D head direction cell’ can do that”, said Weizmann neuroscientist Arseny Finkelstein, a co-author of the bat study. The study has been published in the journal Nature.