Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tortoises master touchscreen technology

Date:
August 6, 2014
Source:
University of Lincoln
Summary:
Tortoises have learned how to use touchscreens as part of a study which aimed to teach the animals navigational techniques. The brain structure of reptiles is very different to that of mammals, which use the hippocampus for spatial navigation.

Dr Anna Wilkinson. Tortoises have learned how to use touchscreens as part of a study which aimed to teach the animals navigational techniques.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Lincoln

Tortoises have learned how to use touchscreens as part of a study which aimed to teach the animals navigational techniques.

Related Articles


The research, which was led by Dr Anna Wilkinson, from the School of Life Sciences, involved red-footed tortoises, which are native to Central and South America. The brain structure of reptiles is very different to that of mammals, which use the hippocampus for spatial navigation.

Instead, it is thought that the reptilian medial cortex serves as a homologue, however very little behavioural work has actually examined this. To understand how tortoises learn to navigate around their environment, the researchers tested how the reptiles relied on cues to get around.

Dr Wilkinson said: "Tortoises are perfect to study as they are considered largely unchanged from when they roamed the world millions of years ago. And this research is important so we can better understand the evolution of the brain and the evolution of cognition."

Dr Wilkinson carried out the initial training while at the University of Vienna, giving the tortoises treats such as strawberries when the reptiles looked at, approached and then pecked blue circles on the screen.

Two of the tortoises, Esme and Quinn, went on to apply their knowledge to a real-life situation.

The researchers placed them in an arena with two empty food bowls that looked like the blue circles on the touchscreen. The tortoises went to the bowl on the same side as the circles they were trained to peck on the screen.

Dr Wilkinson explained: "Their task was to simply remember where they had been rewarded, learning a simple response pattern on the touchscreen. They then transferred what they had learned from the touchscreen into a real-world situation. This tells us that when navigating in real space they do not rely on simple motor feedback but learn about the position of stimuli within an environment.

"The big problem is how to ask all animals a question that they are equally capable of answering. The touchscreen is a brilliant solution as all animals can interact with it, whether it is with a paw, nose or beak. This allows us to compare the different cognitive capabilities."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Lincoln. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julia Mueller-Paul, Anna Wilkinson, Ulrike Aust, Michael Steurer, Geoffrey Hall, Ludwig Huber. Touchscreen performance and knowledge transfer in the red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria). Behavioural Processes, 2014; 106: 187 DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.06.003

Cite This Page:

University of Lincoln. "Tortoises master touchscreen technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806124936.htm>.
University of Lincoln. (2014, August 6). Tortoises master touchscreen technology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806124936.htm
University of Lincoln. "Tortoises master touchscreen technology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806124936.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) — Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) — A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins