Thursday, 5 April 2012

Robosquirrels Versus Rattlesnakes

ScienceDaily (Apr. 3, 2012) — Robot squirrels from the University of California, Davis, are going into rattlesnake country near San Jose, continuing a research project on the interaction between squirrels and rattlesnakes.

In the lab, robot squirrels have shown how squirrels signal to snakes with heat and tail flagging. Through field experiments, researchers from San Diego State University and UC Davis aim to learn more about rattlesnake behavior.
It's not the only use of robots to study animal behavior at UC Davis. Terry Ord, a former postdoctoral researcher now at Harvard University, used robot lizards to study display behavior by anole lizards in the jungles of Puerto Rico. Gail Patricelli, professor of evolution and ecology, has used a camera-equipped robot sage grouse hen to study the mating behavior of these prairie birds.
The collaboration is giving biologists new tools for their work -- and also helping engineers design new and better machines.

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