A large outdoor radial maze for comparative studies in birds and mammalsстатья

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[1] A large outdoor radial maze for comparative studies in birds and mammals / H. P. Lipp, M. G. Pleskacheva, H. Gossweiler et al. // Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. — 2001. — Vol. 25, no. 1. — P. 83–99. For a comparative neurobiological analysis of spatial learning and memory, a large outdoor eight-arm radial maze was constructed which permits behavioral assessment of many avian and mammalian species both from the laboratory or the wild, using the same metric space and session schedules. It consists of a central part of 250cm diameter, and has arms of 650cm length, 170cm height and 80cm width. In order to determine appropriate training schedules for comparison of different species, we tested four mammalian and two avian species during 9-15 sessions: 18 albino rats (Rattus norvegicus), nine outdoors and nine in a conventional small indoor maze; six guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus); six rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus); five hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus); seven hooded crows (Corvus corone cornix) and six chickens (Gallus domesticus). Rats learned fast in both mazes yet significantly better in the large one. Good-to-excellent learning was also observed in juvenile rabbits and wild-caught crows, although the latter tended to avoid arms in the vicinity of the observer. Hedgehogs and chickens did not show significant learning as a group, but some individuals appeared to learn the task. Guinea pigs remained continuously passive and could not be trained. Thus, in spite of species-specific demands for reward, adaptation and pre-training, this type of radial maze permits to directly compare a wide variety of species. Such comparability is essential for an analysis of underlying neurobiological mechanisms. Copyright В© 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. [ DOI ]

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