Natures wonders: Wasps find their way home (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 11, 2016, 20:47 (1510 days ago) @ David Turell

They fly in ever increasing arcs, watch their home, and use the same way to come back:

"Earlier studies had shown that the arcs wasps travel in learning flights follow a remarkably precise pattern. They also knew that wasps make very similar manoeuvres in return flights as they do during learning.


"Their evidence suggests that wasps monitor changing views during learning flights and use the differences they experience relative to previously encountered views to decide when to begin a new arc. When they encounter a familiar view on the way home, wasps move to the left or right, depending on the direction of the nest relative to what they've seen. They also appear to rely on ground features near the nest to guide them.

"Zeil says that his and his colleagues' efforts to examine the homing ability of wasps are part of a much larger effort by many others to develop the tools for ecological neuroscience, a field dedicated to exploring information processing under natural conditions. The next step for them is to explore how their findings in wasps can explain homing in other insects, particularly in bees and ants. They'd also like to understand how this navigational competence develops during the lifetime of an insect.

"Zeil notes that the wasps' homing abilities make them "smarter" than anything humans now know how to build. On that note, he says, it will be interesting to apply and explore what they've learned in flying robots."

Comment: We still Biomimetics to learn how to do things. Nature is still smarter than we are.

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