HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Study: Pigeons can sense the Earth's magnetic field; ability might allow them to return home

CHAPEL HILL Homing pigeons have intrigued humans for many centuries through their seemingly uncanny ability to find their way home from thousands of miles away. But how they do that has remained a mystery.

Now, through a series of careful behavioral experiments in the laboratory, scientists say they have shown unequivocally for the first time that pigeons have a magnetic sense that goes beyond just a simple magnetic compass. The findings boost the possibility that pigeons -- and maybe other birds as well -- use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate just as sea turtles do.

"Because of their amazing homing ability, pigeons have been used to transport messages since early Egyptian times, and pigeon racing is a popular sport all over the world," said Dr. Cordula V. Mora, a biology fellow in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's College of Arts and Sciences. "In fact, pigeons are often called the poor man's race horse.

"The two main theories are that pigeons smell their way home

or that they have a magnetic map," Mora said. "Our work strongly supports the latter theory, which still remains to be proven in the field."

A report on the studies, which Mora did as part of her doctoral work in New Zealand, appears in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Nature. Her co-authors are Drs. Michael Walker, Michael Davison and Martin Wild, all professors at the University of Auckland.

"This is a fascinating study in which Cordula managed to train homing pigeons to respond to magnetic fields," said Dr. Kenneth J. Lohmann, Hoggard Distinguished professor of biology at UNC. "It is important news in biology because more than a dozen attempts by others to do this over the years have all failed. Cordula is the first to find a way to make it work."

In the experiments, if the pigeons chose correctly between two platforms located in a tunnel-like chamber, they were rewarded with food, Mora said. U
'"/>

Contact: David Williamson
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
25-Nov-2004


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Study: Sticking to the sand might not be such good, clean fun for beachgoers
2. Study: Donated embryos could result in more than 2,000 new embryonic stem cell lines
3. Study: Chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth better for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
4. Study: Long legs are more efficient
5. Study: Living coral reefs provide better protection from tsunami waves
6. Study: Rain forest insects eat no more tree species than temperate counterparts
7. Study: Newer antibiotic more effective at treating elders pneumonia
8. Study: Competition for sex is a jungle out there
9. Study: Temperate forests could worsen global warming
10. Study: Arctic undergoing holistic climate-change response
11. Study: Run-down feeling with illness may last longer as people age

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:8/26/2020)... ... August 25, 2020 , ... Modality Solutions, a ... 2020 annual Inc. 5000 list. The list is the most prestigious ranking of the ... well, and for this year’s list, reported three-year revenue growth of 71 percent. ...
(Date:8/21/2020)... ... August 20, 2020 , ... NDA ... , a Clinical Operations executive with expertise in clinical trial planning and feasibility, ... as an Expert Consultant. Throughout his career, Mr. Movahhed has helped design and ...
(Date:8/5/2020)... ... August 05, 2020 , ... Regenative Labs has received ... innovations, CoreText™ and ProText™, making them the first Wharton’s jelly allografts to be assigned ... syringe. The company’s solutions are the first Wharton’s jelly allograft product to be recognized ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2020)... ... August 13, 2020 , ... True Terpenes , the ... its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to research the medical potential of terpenes and the ... when combined with terpenes. The board is focused on expanding the recently launched line ...
(Date:8/12/2020)... ... August 11, 2020 , ... The FSHD ... Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy Clinical Trial Research Network (FSHD CTRN), with consideration ... is a consortium of academic research centers in the United States and Europe ...
(Date:8/12/2020)... , ... August 12, 2020 , ... ... (EMMA International), a global leader in FDA compliance consulting has been named ... fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful ...
(Date:8/3/2020)... ... August 03, 2020 , ... ERT, the ... CEO has been named one of the 100 most inspiring individuals in the ... honorees are selected based on how they have inspired their colleagues and affected ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: