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Many researchers working with animals want to better understand their subjects’ behavior. But it can be hard to get inside of their heads, or to control their behavior as an unrelated species. But animals, particularly social ones, can be influenced by their conspecifics. Advances in robotics are giving researchers a new way in. Over the past decade, researchers have attempted to build robotic models of a variety of animals that can successfully infiltrate a group of real ones. Building a convincing robotic mimic can let researchers set the pace and see how animal behavior changes with different, but controlled, social inputs. In turn, feedback from the animals can help shape improvement in the underlying algorithms needed to mimic complex behavior, creating an even better robotic iteration in the future.
The rules of mouse nomenclature can be complicated, but resources are dedicated to help scientists name novel findings appropriately and to make sure they can find and use the right models for their research.
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