Groundbreaking efforts by Israeli researchers have shown that bats build mental maps, take shortcuts and are goal-oriented in their flight. A research team led by Prof. Ran Nathan of Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Movement Ecology Lab at the Institute for Life Sciences, tracked some 172 wild Egyptian fruit bats, which set out at night to forage in the northeastern Hula Valley. Using an innovative tracking system known as ATLAS, the researchers found that the bats used advanced spatial memory and a flexible cognitive mapping of the fruit trees, roosting caves and other goals scattered in their foraging area. The tracking showed that wild bats seldom search for food randomly, but instead repeatedly forage in goal-directed, long, and straight flights that include frequent shortcuts. KAN's Naomi Segal heard more about the study, which is featured as the cover story for the July 10, 2020 issue of Science, from Prof. Nathan.