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posted by janrinok on Wednesday August 03, @10:19AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the did-anyone-call-while-I-was-eating? dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

There are certain skills that once acquired, such as riding a bike or looking both ways before crossing a street, rarely have to be relearned. Most studies on learning and long-term memory in the wild focus on a handful of animal species. Now, in a paper published in Current Biology, U.S. National Science Foundation–supported researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute share the first report of long-term memory in frog-eating bats (Trachops cirrhosis).

"Frog-eating bats are an excellent emerging model organism for studying cognitive and sensory ecology," says biologist May Dixon, lead author of the paper. "Learning plays a big part in their lives."

The bats' ability to retain information means that when they are hunting frogs, their main prey, they don't have to continuously relearn which frog calls indicate that a frog is good to eat, poisonous or too big to carry.

Dixon and colleagues trained 49 wild bats to respond to cellphone ringtones played through speakers. Bats responding to two of the tones found a baitfish reward on the speaker every time, but when they responded to three other tones, they were not rewarded. They quickly learned to fly to the speaker when ringtones indicated a snack, and not to respond to the other tones. The bats were then microchipped and released back into Panama's Soberania National Park.

Researchers recaptured eight of the bats one to four years later, and when they played the experimental ringtones again, the bats recognized and responded to the two rewarded ringtones even four years later. The experiment included 17 untrained frog-eating bats that did not fly to the sounds.


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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by pkrasimirov on Wednesday August 03, @12:15PM

    by pkrasimirov (3358) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 03, @12:15PM (#1264759)

    Give a bat a frog, and you feed it for a day. Teach a bat to respond to ringcalls, and... you feed it twice per four years.

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Wednesday August 03, @12:23PM (1 child)

    by looorg (578) on Wednesday August 03, @12:23PM (#1264760)

    Will any ringtone do or do they have some kind of preference? Is it those three BUD-WEI-SER frogs at least?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVcbasIb8lQ [youtube.com]

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by ElizabethGreene on Wednesday August 03, @01:47PM (5 children)

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Wednesday August 03, @01:47PM (#1264772)

    Train the bats to swarm the default iPhone ringtone. Call your friend on an overnight campout and watch the hilarity ensue.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday August 03, @02:02PM (3 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday August 03, @02:02PM (#1264775) Journal

      I think it is the bats which learn the ringtones.

      It is the frogs which fail to learn to look both ways before crossing the street. See the extremely violent video game: Frogger.

      Some people fail to learn basic things like not to say "Balm" in an airport. "I packed a little balm in my carrion."

      --
      Islamic Fatwas = BAD; MAGA Fatwas for FBI and Judges = GOOD ?
      • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday August 03, @02:41PM (2 children)

        by Freeman (732) on Wednesday August 03, @02:41PM (#1264779) Journal

        Who calls it lip balm anyway? It's chapstick. That may be a brand, but it's a brand, like Kleenex.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleenex [wikipedia.org]

        In the US, the Kleenex name has become—in common usage but not in law—genericized: the popularity of the product has led to the use of its name to refer to any facial tissue, regardless of the brand.[7] Many dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster and Oxford, now include definitions in their publications defining it as such.[8][9]

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ElizabethGreene on Wednesday August 03, @04:24PM

          by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Wednesday August 03, @04:24PM (#1264790)

          In this case I'm picking on the iPhone users because my experience is that the vast majority do not change the default ringtone/notification/alarm sounds. It would be a harder trick to pull on Android users.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @09:31PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, @09:31PM (#1264842)

          Lip balm or chapstick, either way TSA took it away from me when I tried to carry it on--the agent said it was a liquid(!)

          This was in the early days of "no liquids" carried onto a plane. Later the rules were relaxed to allow small quantities.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Spamalope on Wednesday August 03, @04:48PM

      by Spamalope (5233) on Wednesday August 03, @04:48PM (#1264798) Homepage

      I'd love a bat attracting ringtone. Years ago I lived in a townhome with a bathouse and a good size bat colony living there. The entire roof of the garage was a patio with solid (instead of picket) railing for a nice private space under a huge live oak. With the bats, you could hang out all evening with no fear of mosquitos. It was fantastic!
      An added bonus was a bat-tornado at dawn as they returned.

  • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Wednesday August 03, @04:17PM

    by acid andy (1683) on Wednesday August 03, @04:17PM (#1264787) Homepage Journal

    Frog-eating bats? But what about the bat-eating frogs, cat-eating dogs, and rat-eating hogs? And that still woefully neglects the important question we all need answered: what about the frogs that eat the bats that eat the frogs that eat the bats that eat the frogs that swallowed the spiders that wriggled and wiggled and tiggled inside them? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Brrrr-ahh-ahh-haargh, I think I might be getting what ever it is that DannyB has!

    --
    Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
  • (Score: 2) by ChrisMaple on Thursday August 04, @12:54AM

    by ChrisMaple (6964) on Thursday August 04, @12:54AM (#1264866)

    Researchers did not notice that the previously captured bats didn't learn from their experience, and were captured again.

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