“Cross-modal recognition … is a highly complex cognitive capacity that was thought to be limited to vertebrates.
“Solvi et al. show that this capability exists in an insect brain, which contains a small fraction of the numbers of neurons in vertebrate brains.”
Looking at the bigger picture, Solvi’s work is driven by a curiosity about how the brain generates complex cognitions like emotion, metacognition (knowledge about knowledge) and consciousness.
“By investigating the cognitive capacities of very small brains,” she says, “we may be able to shed significant light on how our brains produce the things we feel make us so special.”
My surprise is to notice that this was considered surprising.
The distinction between different sensory modes is one that we humans make. I see no reason to expect nature (or neuronal development) to make that distinction.