Science: Mapping A Bat’s Navigation Neurons In 3D, Poison Dart Frogs, Fabrics

Researchers uncover how grid cells fire in a 3D space to help bats navigate, and a fabric that switches between being stiff and flexible.

In this episode:

00:47 Mapping a bat’s navigation neurons in 3D

Grid cells are neurons that regularly fire as an animal moves through space, creating a pattern of activity that aids navigation. But much of our understanding of how grid cells work has involved rats moving in a 2D plane. To figure out how the system works in a 3D space, researchers have mapped the brain activity of bats flying freely around a room.

Research Article: Ginosar et al.

07:44 Research Highlights

How a ‘toxin sponge’ may protect poison dart frogs from themselves, and the world’s oldest known coin foundry has been found.

Research Highlight: An absorbing tale: poison dart frogs might have a ‘toxin sponge’

Research Highlight: Found: the world’s oldest known mint and its jumbo product

09:59 A flexible fabric that transforms from soft to rigid (and back again)

Researchers have created a ‘tunable’ fabric, inspired by medieval chainmail, that when compressed changes from flexible to rigid. The stiffened structure can hold 30 times its own weight, and the team behind it suggest this material could be used to build temporary shelters or have medical applications.

Research article: Wang et al.

16:33 Stark warning from the IPCC’s latest report

This week the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its long awaited report detailing compiling the latest climate science data. Nature’s Jeff Tollefson joins us to discuss the report and the warnings it contains for our warming world.

News: IPCC climate report: Earth is warmer than it’s been in 125,000 years

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