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Commun Integr Biol. 2009 Sep;2(5):388-90.

Ants in rectangular arenas: a support for the global matching theory.

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CRCA, CNRS-UPS UMR 5169, Toulouse F-31062, France.


Although spatial cognition is studied by neuroscientists, psychologists, biologists and computer scientists, it suffers from a lack of integrative studies. The topic of geometry of space for instance, has been studied since twenty years only in vertebrates and only in artificial and visually poor environments. But recently, similar results have been obtained with ants, supporting the recent idea of global matching. Contrary to the other theories about geometry, global matching is parsimonious, testable in natural conditions and makes sense in an ecological context. Here, further investigations into the data obtained in ants describe and support a new concept for the global matching theory: the Mismatch Tolerance Threshold (MTT). This new idea can be tested in other species and we stress the importance of considering the whole paths displayed by the animals in future experiments.


ant navigation; geometry; global matching; mismatch tolerance threshold; spatial cognition

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