You Are Right, Your Dog Can Tell Time!
You are right, your dog knows when you don’t come home on time, that’s according to science. A new study from Northwestern University has found some of the clearest evidence yet that animals can judge time.
Scientists examined an area of the brain associated with memory and found a previously unknown set of neurons that turn on like a clock when an animal is waiting. In an experiment called the virtual “door stop” task, researchers had a mouse run on a physical treadmill in a virtual reality environment. To receive an award, the mouse would have to wait six seconds for a door located about halfway down the track to open, allowing it to continue to run down the hallway to where the treat was located. After a while, researchers made the door invisible, yet the the mouse would remember where that door was and still wait six seconds before racing down the hallway to receive its award.
Daniel Dombeck, who led the study, said, “This is one of the most convincing experiments to show that animals really do have an explicit representation of time in their brains when they are challenged to measure a time interval.”