Echolocation is a rather interesting and entertaining feature of many animals, using it as the main or additional way of orienting oneself on the ground and searching for prey or shelter. However, little is known about human echolocation, since practically no special studies have been undertaken to study the development of this orientation method in humans. However, an international team of researchers from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the USA hastened to fix this, having decided to conduct an experiment aimed at establishing the method for the development of echolocation by the human brain over time – especially over a short period of this time.
An article with research and project by an international team has already been published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society. There they explained that, as a basis for the study of human echolocation, they took one from bats. These completely blind creatures are guided by echolocation, using the appropriate sounds and thus catching one or another echo pattern – thus, they can easily find prey, shelter and other useful objects.
Therefore, the researchers invited eight blind people who developed this method of orientation to a more or less decent level, in order to check how quickly echolocation synapses can develop in the brain. To do this, they asked the subjects to find in the room a plate mounted on a pole – at different angles and areas of its placement.
The experiment demonstrated that all subjects were able to easily localize the plate using their tongues (to create an echo) with a tongue if it was directly in front of them at a particular distance. At the same time, the location error could vary from 45 to 90 degrees. But when the pole with the plate was moved behind the subjects, they already experienced some problems with the location – they had to modulate and change the frequency and volume of the clatter. However, there may also be an explanation in the fact that these people who developed echolocation better than others are more sensitive to mild echoes.