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Natural World

How do animals use magnetism to navigate ?

July 12, 2012 | Comment icon 10 comments



Image Credit: Mike Cline
Scientists have been studying how some animals use magnetic navigation to find their way around.
While it has long been suspected that animals such as birds and fish possess some form of magnetic sense allowing them to travel large distances with impressive precision, the exact biological process through which this occurs has not been fully understood. This new study has helped researchers determine that some fish like trout have cells in their noses that act like a magnetic compass and enable the animals to find their way.

"Our results show that the magnetically identified cells clearly meet the physical requirements for a magnetoreceptor capable of rapidly detecting small changes in the external magnetic field," the research team reported.
Trout have cells in their noses that act like miniature compasses to help them navigate, a study has shown. The cells, which are believed to exist in other animals, contain iron-rich deposits of a magnetic material called magnetite.


Source: Sky News | Comments (10)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by lightly 10 years ago
A study was done that showed people have magnetic deposits in our brains ... right behind our noses. "follow your nose"
Comment icon #2 Posted by Taun 10 years ago
It must be pretty easy for a trout... most streams aren't that wide and it's either upstream or downstream...
Comment icon #3 Posted by Junior Chubb 10 years ago
Its a shame that if we did ever have this kind of ability that the lack of need for it over time has seen it be eroded away. Orienteering would be a lot easier if we instinctively knew which way north was. It must be pretty easy for a trout... most streams aren't that wide and it's either upstream or downstream... You are spot on Taun (once they are in fresh water ), but the difficult part for Trout is finding the estuary of the river they are looking for, that is when the navigation factor really comes into play (finding the river from the sea).
Comment icon #4 Posted by pallidin 10 years ago
I wonder of birds around the LHC collider go around in circles.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Junior Chubb 10 years ago
I wonder of birds around the LHC collider go around in circles. Until they collide?
Comment icon #6 Posted by jimbur 10 years ago
Until they collide? Until they collide? Ahh. the elusive bird particle.
Comment icon #7 Posted by slowfade 10 years ago
Fascinating, that explains a lot! Thanks for posting
Comment icon #8 Posted by csspwns 10 years ago
if tat were so then fish hooks would have magnets and make catching fish super easy but the magnet would rust sooo..
Comment icon #9 Posted by lightly 10 years ago
Some bacteria have built in compasses too... http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081216201412.htm http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/bacteria-that-synthesize-nano-sized-compasses-to-15669190
Comment icon #10 Posted by Super-Fly 10 years ago
not much good if there in a reservoir lmao interesting none the less. Thanks.


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