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There and back again – a zebra's tale

Bartlam-Brooks, H; Wilshin, S; Hubel, T; Hailes, S; Bennitt, E; Wilson, AM; (2020) There and back again – a zebra's tale. Journal of Experimental Biology , 223 (23) , Article jeb232140. 10.1242/jeb.232140. Green open access

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Abstract

Animals need to navigate between resources such as water, food and shelter, and how they achieve this is likely to vary with species. Here, using high-accuracy GPS data, we studied repeated journeys made by wild plains zebra (Equus quagga) through a naturally vegetated environment to explore whether they consistently follow the same route through the area or whether they use a range of routes to reach their goal. We used a model to distinguish and quantify these two possibilities and show that our observations are consistent with the use of multiple routes. Our model performs better than assuming a uniform angular distribution of trajectories. The typical separation of the routes was found to be small (1.96 m), while the scale at which neighbouring trajectories are informative to direction of travel was found to be large (with a confidence interval of 1.19–26.4 m). Our observations are consistent with the hypothesis that zebra are able to navigate without having to return to previously used routes, instead using numerous different routes of similar trajectories.

Type: Article
Title: There and back again – a zebra's tale
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1242/jeb.232140
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.232140
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122941
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