Dr. Vivek Jayaraman and colleagues at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus discovered that the ellipsoid body located in the middle of a fly's brain acts like a compass to help navigate flight even in darkness. By placing the flies into a small virtual reality arena and having the flies walk on a rotating ball, they could study the activity of neurons within the ellipsoid body while the animal was moving.
These videos show how the fly experiment was done:
Check out the news release for more information about this neat study.
And how did the flies get their navigation system?
The same way the "birds got their beaks".
See article nearby.