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Natural World

Pigeons' sixth sense eludes scientists

April 13, 2012 | Comment icon 8 comments



Image Credit: sxc.hu
It still isn't clear how pigeons are able to detect magnetic fields to help them navigate when flying.
Despite numerous studies scientists have yet to get to the bottom of the mystery. "At this stage it's still that needle-in-a-haystack problem," said Biologist Dr Jeremy Shaw. "It's one of those fundamental questions in biology that has persisted for many many years now." In 2003 German researchers believed they'd found the answer in iron-rich magnetoreceptors located within the beak, however despite several follow-up studies no conclusive evidence of these could be found.
How pigeons are able to detect magnetic fields to navigate their way home remains a mystery, say researchers. Biologist Dr Jeremy Shaw, from the University of Western Australia, and colleagues, report their findings today in the journal Nature.


Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Rolci 10 years ago
so we fly into space, read brainwaves, have smartphones and wireless internet, but we don't know how the pigeon on our rooftop finds its way. I really do find that interesting.
Comment icon #2 Posted by ollyhw45 10 years ago
Maby they dont use the magnetic field...maby it just seems like they do lol
Comment icon #3 Posted by MrSerendipity 10 years ago
They use their sense of smell, it's as simple as that!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Simbi Laveau 10 years ago
Funny,I was just thinking with the coming of the new world order,we need to start using homing pigeons again.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Aus Der Box Skeptisch 10 years ago
Funny,I was just thinking with the coming of the new world order,we need to start using homing pigeons again. Lol nwo that's funny... that was meant as a joke right? If mpt I apologize.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Karlis 10 years ago
Seriously -- the Jokes and Humour forum board is here.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Artaxerxes 10 years ago
I guarantee you it has something to do with the holographic nature of our universe. That connectedness/oneness thing of a holographic piece of film. The information is somehow spread throughout their entire brains and they form a picture inside of their skulls that is like a map of where they are going.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Arawyn 10 years ago
hmm, maybe the pigeons have tiny magnetic particles in their brains that react to the magnetic fields? Sounds like that would make sense.


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