How these feathery ‘memory geniuses’ remember where they hid their food | Trending Viral hub


The brain’s ability to create and store memories It’s quite mysterious. Memory can’t always be trustedAnd yet it is crucial for survival. Remembering where food is stored during the lean winter months is a necessity for many animals, including black-capped titmice. New research suggests that these birds With impeccable memories use a system similar to something you’ve probably seen in the supermarket. They appear to memorize the location of each food using brain cell activity which works similar to how a barcode works. The findings are described in a study published on March 29 in the journal Cell.

“We see the world through our memories of objects, places and people,” said study co-author and Columbia University neuroscientist Dmitriy Aronov. said in a statement. “Memories completely define the way we see and interact with the world. “With this bird, we have a way of understanding memory in an incredibly simplified way, and by understanding its memory, we will understand something about ourselves.”

‘Geniuses of memory’

Scientists have long known that hippocampus of the brain It is necessary to store episodic memories, such as where a car is parked or where food is kept. It has been more difficult to understand how these memories are encoded in the brain, as it is difficult to know what an animal might be remembering at any given time.

To solve this problem, the new study analyzes black-capped chickadees. Arnov calls these birds “memory geniuses” and masters of episodic memory. Most chickadees live in colder places and do not migrate in winter like other birds. Their survival depends on remembering where they hid food in summer and fall, and some birds making up to 5,000 of these stashes every day.

(Related: Dogs and wolves remember where you hide their food..)

“Each cache is a well-defined, open-ended, easily observable moment in time during which a new memory is formed,” Aronov said. “By focusing on these special moments in time, we were able to identify patterns of memory-related activity that had not been noticed before.”

A ‘barcode’ of the hippocampus

In it study, The team built indoor arenas in a lab inspired by the birds’ natural habitats. During the experiments, a black-capped tit instinctively hid sunflower seeds in sand holes, while the team monitored activity in the bird’s hippocampus, using an implanted recording system. This device allowed the team to monitor the brain while the birds moved freely and retreated between recording sessions. At the same time, six cameras recorded the chickadees as they flew and an artificial intelligence system that automatically tracked them as they hid and retrieved seeds.

“These are very surprising patterns of activity, but they are very brief: they only last about a second on average,” said study co-author and postdoctoral researcher Selmaan Chettih. said in a statement. “If you didn’t know exactly when and why they happened, it would be very easy to miss them.”


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