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Still Waters

How dormice use their whiskers to climb trees

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Dormice use their whiskers to help them climb trees, researchers say.

By twitching them upwards, outwards and straight ahead up to 25 times a second, they sense where they are going, a University of Sheffield team has found.

The process, called whisking, is used by some other rodents, and by whiskered mammals including seals and walruses.

Dr Robyn Grant, from the university's Active Touch Laboratory says whisking is "a parallel sense to our sense of touch".

She says hazel dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) use their whiskers, or vibrissae, in a similar way to how people use their eyes - scanning to recognise what is in front of them.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/18237655

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