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J Acoust Soc Am. 2008 Jun;123(6):4582-98. doi: 10.1121/1.2912450.

Evidence for spatial representation of object shape by echolocating bats (Eptesicus fuscus).

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Department of Neuroscience, Brown University, Box GL-N, Providence, Rhode Island 02912.


Big brown bats were trained in a two-choice task to locate a two-cylinder dipole object with a constant 5 cm spacing in the presence of either a one-cylinder monopole or another two-cylinder dipole with a shorter spacing. For the dipole versus monopole task, the objects were either stationary or in motion during each trial. The dipole and monopole objects varied from trial to trial in the left-right position while also roving in range (10-40 cm), cross range separation (15-40 cm), and dipole aspect angle (0 degrees -90 degrees ). These manipulations prevented any single feature of the acoustic stimuli from being a stable indicator of which object was the correct choice. After accounting for effects of masking between echoes from pairs of cylinders at similar distances, the bats discriminated the 5 cm dipole from both the monopole and dipole alternatives with performance independent of aspect angle, implying a distal, spatial object representation rather than a proximal, acoustic object representation.

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