Can rodents conceive hyperbolic spaces?

This new study is an adventure in understanding understanding:

Can Rodents Conceive Hyperbolic Spaces?” Eugenio Urdapilleta, Francesca Troiani, Federico Stella, Alessandro Treves, arXiv1502.02435, February 9, 2015. Thanks to Mason Porter for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at SISSA in Trieste, Italy, explain:

“The grid cells discovered in the rodent medial entorhinal cortex have been proposed to provide a metric for Euclidean space, possibly even hardwired in the embryo. Yet one class of models describing the formation of grid unit selectivity is entirely based on developmental self-organization, and as such it predicts that the metric it expresses should reflect the environment to which the animal has adapted….

“We show that, according to self-organizing models, if raised in a non-Euclidean hyperbolic cage rats should be able to form hyperbolic grids.”

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