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Rats Have Learned to Drive Tiny Cars

by Paul Strauss
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Apparently, because we don’t already have enough problem with scooters weaving in and out of traffic, scientists are working on a way for rats to drive around in miniature cars. Yes, these rodents can now literally join the rat race.

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Image: Kelly Lambert / University of Richmond

As part of their studies of the cognitive abilities of rats, researchers from the Lambert Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Richmond have built miniature cars that rats can use to drive around. Now, these rats aren’t just driving to work or the dentist. They need more incentive than that. Their objective: Froot Loops.

The scientists built the ratmobiles using see-through food containers mounted onto motorized platforms. Each one is rigged up with copper bars that the rats can press on to steer the cars left and right, or to drive forward towards the colorful breakfast cereal treat. As scientists placed Froot Loops around the floor, the rats gradually learned to navigate towards their targets.

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It’s pretty cool that rats can drive cars now, but I won’t be truly impressed until they learn how to drive a stick shift.

[via NewScientist via CNet]



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