Home > Uncategorized > Once more to the map debate

Once more to the map debate

The use of harmonic radar in the last 5+ years has re-opened the debate about whether insects are capable of maintaining a cognitive map of their environment. The latest paper that “proves” (no-less) that bees use a cognitive map comes from Cheeseman et al. Using a brilliant clock-shifting technique they are able to manipulate the celestial compass information that bees might gain from PI or associate with recognized places. The authors argue that the alternative hypothesis (to a metric cognitive map) is that insects associate sun-compass referenced vectors with landmarks. Because the homing of bees in familiar environments is not influenced by clock shifting the authors argue that sun-compass referenced vectors can’t be associated with places and therefore bees must have a cognitive map. Unfortunately, this work totally ignores the many ways that animals can use visual information for navigation and seems unaware of the information that is available in natural scenes, even when they appear featureless.

James F. Cheeseman, Craig D. Millar, Uwe Greggers, Konstantin Lehmann, Matthew D. M. Pawley, Charles R. Gallistel, Guy R. Warman, and Randolf Menzel (2014) Way-finding in displaced clock-shifted bees proves bees use a cognitive map. PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1408039111

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s