A case of mental time travel in ant-following birds?
AbstractArmy ant-following birds that inspect bivouacs (temporary nests of nomadic army ants) might provide a novel candidate for studying elements of mental time travel in animals, namely the ability to 1) remember the time and place of specific past events and 2) to use this memory to plan for future actions. Army ant colonies are a rich but unpredictable resource: Army ants do not raid every day, and colonies cycle through periods of high and low raid activity. Birds check bivouacs in the afternoon after feeding on insects that flee the army ant raids and then return to the bivouac the next morning to observe ant activity. If the ants are raiding, the birds will follow the army ants to the front of the raid and begin feeding; if not, the birds must move on to another army ant colony. Do ant-following birds check bivouacs to encode the location in their memory, thereby allowing them to return the next morning to feed again? Ant-following birds may track multiple army ant colonies through space and time to ensure a daily meal on an otherwise scattered and unpredictable resource. We suggest further research to test this hypothesis and provide a framework for investigating whether or not cognitive processes involved in mental time travel play a role in bivouac-checking behavior observed in the field. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.
Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK
Fax: 01865 267 985
Web page: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.