Like humans, other animals are faced with everyday obstacles in their physical environments and must engage appropriate decision-making and motor skills to deal with them. Navigating these obstacles can involve highly complex events in mammals and other vertebrates, but in new work, researchers have employed an ingenious obstacle-based system for studying the control and structure of goal-oriented motor programs in the fruit fly Drosophila.
The findings are reported in Current Biology by Roland Strauss, of the University of Würzburg, and Simon Pick, of the University of Ulm, both in Germany.
In their studies, the researchers presented freely walking flies with a chasm in their path. The flies had shortened wings and could not fly over the gap, and they were thus forced to decide whether to attempt to cross the gap "by foot." The researchers found that the flies first visually measure the gap width and then only cross the gap if it is a traversable width. If the chasm is short, flies engage in an extraordinary crossing behavior that the researchers showed involve three motor programs. High-speed video analyses revealed that flies can flexibly combine, and iteratively improve, these three behavioral adaptations in order to traverse gaps much broader than their own body size. The decisive phase for the climbing success of a fly is the formation of a "bridge" with the hind and middle legs still holding on to the starting side and the front legs just about reaching the edge of the target side. Forward shifting of the body into the gap, primarily by little hind-leg steps, contributes the most to gap-crossing. Auxiliary actions of the middle legs keep the body close to a horizontal position and help in reaching the other side. In the last step, the front legs stretch as much as possible to grasp the other side.
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses