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Insights from bat brain cells

A special group of neurons, identified in the brains of bats, appear to help the animals to distinguish both time and space, in relation to themselves and other bats.

These ‘time cells’ are so-called because they record a chronological order of events, which is helps the bats to navigate different environments.

A study by EARA member The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Weizmann Institute of Science, both Israel, recorded the activity of these time cells in Egyptian fruit bats.

The team identified different types of time cells in the bats – that either encode time only, or both time and space – as well as ‘social’ time cells that relate to the timings of other bats in their surroundings.


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