Bats are great at hunting down prey via echolocation, in which their ultrasonic chirps bounce off anything in the air. Specialized ear designs and other features detect the returning sounds, helping the bats determine the location of a moving target. But what about when the target is still?
Bats have been observed seeking out and catching inert insects hiding amid clutter, and finally scientists think they've figured out how the animals do it. The flapping motion of a bat moves the air sufficiently to ruffle the wings of their insect prey, and this trifling perturbation can be detected. Understanding the way bats do this could help improve biomimetic sensors, according to Roman Kuc, professor of electrical engineering at Yale University, and his colleague/son Victor Kuc.
The father-son team filmed a common big-eared bat, Micronycteris microtis, with a high-speed camera. The bat hovered over a completely still dragonfly sitting on a leaf, and was able to detect it and pick it up. Watching the playback in slow motion, the Kucs noticed the dragonfly's wings move ever so slightly in the air current caused by the flapping bat. The dragonfly wings moved in sync with the bat wings. The Kucs then made a model of the induced wing movements and how they affected the returning echoes, according to Yale's School of Engineering and Applied Science.
To do it, they took a real dragonfly, plastic leaves and a robotic sonar system to generate sound pulses. They used an airbrush to puff air at the dragonfly, simulating the beating bat wings. The resulting echo waveforms gave it away: The leaf didn't really ruffle, but the dragonfly wings did. The Kucs say that bats can figure out the difference, and use it to detect the location of prey that is otherwise silent and totally still.
The study is published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.
Just take the wings of the dragonflies off and see if the bats sense it then... much simpler than using high tech equipment and sensors.
So what's the bat version of a pre-frontal cortex then? Never know where we could pick up a sense or two or solve the big everything question. If we are going to start going to other worlds, we're likely going to need them at some point. Many generations still for any hopes of true integration with us personally, but self growing processors can make a bridge most likely soon. Still, just a bat brain yet though. Gives us maps. We could find that sharks with porpoise brains supplementing us on a water world would still leave us crippled children. In this respect, the dog emotive states as companion or opportunist studies become significant if we can build good across the board method out of it. We still can't say we even know what IQ is to most species. Different sensory is different value judgments overall and by part.
The work of this father/son team is great, although mkc96's idea is worth trying.
If I understand it right, a bat cycles through a range of pitches so that he can distinguish whether an echo is returning after bouncing off a smaller item nearby or a larger item further away. Also, to hear an echo off a moth requires very sensitive hearing and a very loud sound emitted, which loudness could blow out the sensitive hearing, except that the muscle to emit the sound simultaneously muffles the ears. Finally, a whale and bat genetic project has sequenced a protein for sonar processing, and astoundingly, found a lengthy, identical codon sequence that cannot be interpreted as resulting from common descent. All this is stunning to me.
Take the wings off? Much simpler, and a lot less humane.