[Outreach] Bat Talk at Max Planck for Brain Research


I was delighted to give a talk to PhD students and postdocs at the Max Planck for Brain Research’s Halloween Party last Friday.

Bats play a significant role in the folklore and mythology of many cultures. In the West, their image is almost synonymous with all that is dark, spooky, ominous, and unknown. There’s hardly any Halloween shop or party or setting that doesn’t in some way feature these furry flying friends.

I started by talking about bats in art and folklore, and then some interesting details about the natural history of bats.

My favorite part was sharing some fascinating behavioral adaptations observed in some bat species, such as the discovery that bats likely have an innate reference of the speed of sound, and that the vocal development of juvenile bats mirrors language acquisition in humans.

Finally, I shared the results from several studies (from our lab as well as the lab of Nachum Ulanovsky), featuring neural recordings to give a glipmse of what we know about the neural mechanisms of navigation and vocal communication in Chiroptera.

I had a fantastic time and was given such a warm reception. We had a real discussion going with lots of questions and really rewarding engagement.

Thanks again, MPIBR!

You can find the slides to my talk here: