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Author Topic: Moo North: Cattle and Deer May Sense Earth's Magnetic Field  (Read 2548 times)
Phoenix
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« Topic Start: August 26, 2008, 11:41:36 pm »

Forget cow tipping—next time you want to mess with a bovine friend, try waving a magnet in its face.
Researchers have found that when grazing or resting, cattle and deer tend to point their bodies toward Earth's magnetic poles, which suggests they are able to sense magnetic fields in the same way as many smaller animals.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=cattle-deer-sense-magnetic-field&sc=WR_20080826
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« Reply #1: August 26, 2008, 11:46:21 pm »

Researchers have found that when grazing or resting, cattle and deer tend to point their bodies toward Earth's magnetic poles, which suggests they are able to sense magnetic fields

I don't know ....
I'm wondering if it doesn't have more to do with the fact that the sun is usually along the east-west arc; and with eyes in the side of their heads, it would be easier to spot the shadows of potential predators facing north or south
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« Reply #2: August 27, 2008, 08:25:01 am »

I don't know ....
I'm wondering if it doesn't have more to do with the fact that the sun is usually along the east-west arc; and with eyes in the side of their heads, it would be easier to spot the shadows of potential predators facing north or south

I don't know - I think even people might be more sensitive to that than we think.

my son, when he was a baby, (how is he old enough I can say that?  AAAAH!) would only sleep one way.  When we were at a hotel, we had the crib the wrong way, and he kept trying to sleep across the narrow way.  We turned the crib, no problem for the rest of the stay.

it was very strange.  Leaves me a lot more open to the idea that we can sense these things without realizing it.
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« Reply #3: August 27, 2008, 08:28:47 am »

I'm wondering if it doesn't have more to do with the fact that the sun is usually along the east-west arc; and with eyes in the side of their heads, it would be easier to spot the shadows of potential predators facing north or south

It would probably be relatively easy to test if it is the sun/moon. You'd just need to see what they do on very dark days (and moonless night) in fields they aren't familiar with.
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« Reply #4: August 27, 2008, 01:13:55 pm »

It would probably be relatively easy to test if it is the sun/moon. You'd just need to see what they do on very dark days (and moonless night) in fields they aren't familiar with.

It wouldn't even have to be all that dark, just overcast (especially during the winter when there are no shadows)
You could also observe the behavior of ground birds, such as chickens, under controlled lighting conditions
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« Reply #5: August 27, 2008, 09:57:52 pm »

Forget cow tipping—next time you want to mess with a bovine friend, try waving a magnet in its face.
Researchers have found that when grazing or resting, cattle and deer tend to point their bodies toward Earth's magnetic poles, which suggests they are able to sense magnetic fields in the same way as many smaller animals.
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=cattle-deer-sense-magnetic-field&sc=WR_20080826

Cripes! You're right. How many times have I driven past cows and never noticed? Just how am I suppose to keep my eyes on the road whenever I pass them now?
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