Sunday, September 7, 2008

Animal Magnetism

It’s been documented that organisms like butterflies, birds and fish can detect magnetic fields and navigate by them, but researchers at the University of Duisburg-Essen were interested in identifying larger animals that also have a magnetic sense. Using satellite images from Google Earth, researches observed that cattle, whether resting or grazing, tend to orient their bodies in a north-south direction just like a compass needle. Out of 8,510 cattle from 308 herds from all around the world, two of every three animals were aligned with the north-south axis. Why exactly the cows do this, no one yet knows. But this story means that cows now join whales and red deer as the largest animals known to have a magnetic sense.

Cows Have Magnetic Sense, Google Earth Images Show [Los Angeles Times]

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