Scientists have discovered how flies are oriented in space

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2019-11-22 20:20:09

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Scientists have discovered how flies are oriented in space

it Turns out that flies have quite an interesting nervous system

You have at least once wondered how insects Orient themselves in surrounding space? Not that it's important for our existence knowledge, but it allows you to learn more about the neurophysiology of the lower forms of life, which in the future will improve system operation and artificial intelligence of the navigation system the same samoupravlenii robots and drones. Now, researchers from the Medical University Howard Hughes was able to identify like oriented . And it turned out to be very unusual.

Like flies find a way

the scientists were able to figure out that insects are a kind of «mental map of the space», which allows them to clarify the direction of movement upon receipt of new signals. Flies use visual cues to improve your «map of the environment».

Actually, the experiment itself. Fly tapicerowane directly under the microscope. From the opposite side are light sources

In order to determine why flies are oriented in space, scientists placed them in a special ball, black and lit by blue lights. Mucha was «tied» in order to stay in one place, but the insects could move his legs and wings to try to go to the landmark that seems to them most attractive. Next, the researchers recorded the neural activity of the flies.

We were able, actually, to record a sense of direction in insects. And with just a few pieces of data on visual information, flies can build a map of its environment. These «spatial maps» in the brain can be adapted to the new visual objects that appear in sight. It's an amazing phenomenon, especially for such a tiny nervous system. — said Yvette Fisher, an employee of the Medical University of Howard Hughes and the study's lead author.

The results give new insight about how the brain can construct a map of the space, while remaining flexible enough to adapt to the new conditions. This work is also important in order to understand how other animals are guided in the wild: insects, such as ants and dung beetles, to mammals such as mice and possibly even humans. Want to know more about this topic? . There you will find a lot of useful information from the world of high technology.

Three different colors indicate three neurons that provide visual cues «compass» in the fly's brain.

According to researchers, have have the ring of the «compass neurons» in the brain, which reflect the orientation of the flies in space. When the fly looks in a certain direction, there is a surge of activity in neurons somewhere around the ring. When the fly is rotated, the impulse moves to reflect the new orientation of the fly's head. This is similar to how a compass needle rotating to always point to the North.

These compass neurons respond to rotation of a fly even in pitch darkness, but the addition of visual cues gives the flies an even better sense of direction. The question is how the compass holds two sources of information, twists and visual signals, fully synchronized with each other. One proposed explanation is that each visual neuron for each compass neuron. These relationships and create a map in the fly's brain. Repeated observation of a landmark in a specific location enhances communication between neurons.

To test your guesses on «the arena» insects added another light source. Then the activity of brain maps has changed its direction periodically turned 180 degrees, since the fly could not determine in which direction she should go.

This is interesting:

But after a while everything returned to normal and the insect has chosen the object to which you would like to go. Scientists say that these changes occur within a few minutes and correspond to the time frame that we subjectively feel when we come to an unknown environment and examine it.

The Relationship is stronger when the fly repeats this experience, strengthening connections between neurons over time. — scientists say.

As already mentioned, such a study will help not only better understand the physiology of insects and other fauna, but also to improve the navigation algorithm , a self-governing drones and systems that deal with mapping of the landscape.

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