3D neural compass cells enable our navigation: Bats

Nature has many hidden secrets despite the advanced researches. Studies on bats have revealed that they have  neural compass cells to keep track of their flying route map. This is now revealed by researches conducted on bats by recording the brain signals of bats as they flew and landed. 

neural compass cells5 neural compass cells2

It was surprising how the bats locate themselves in space when they maneuver, especially since they can even fly with bellies upward. They even hang upside down.The study has revealed that the head direction cells keep the track in 3D, as they fly. The scientists expect similar navigation system in other animals too. 

The study was conducted by scientists of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. The scientists studied the bats during their different styles of flying and landings. Recordings were done through wireless technology by attaching a tiny device, micro electrodes to the mammal to generate electronic signals. Recordings from video monitoring system were used to study the head rotation of the animal. Analysis of these data revealed the presence of neurons responsive to specific 3D angles. When we navigate, we ought to know here we are and in which direction to move.  The 3D positioning system in the brain of a bat keeps track of where they were, where they are heading and which way up they were. 

Scientists now anticipate that even human brain posses similar 3D compass. Till recently our idea was limited to cells that form a mental map of surroundings and cells that help us navigate in horizontal plane.  Isn’t the nature really amazing?

By John CS




  1. By John samuel


  2. By Wiliam Taylor


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