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Magnetic sensing in birds

Discussion in 'Biology' started by amusicsite, 9 Apr 2018.

  1. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

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    http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Research/cryptochrome/

    New study seems to have worked out a bit more about how birds see the Earth's magnetic field.
     
  2. Yellow Fang

    Yellow Fang Über Geek

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    Interesting about the polarity. I think I've read that the Earth changes its polarity from time to time. I have also read that birds can see more into the ultra-violet spectrum than we can. Some birds with oily looking plumage, such as starlings look different to their eyes. I think I read birds have four colour cones to our three (I will have to fact check this). If they have a magnetic sense built into their eyes as well, that makes them even more interesting.
     
  3. Yellow Fang

    Yellow Fang Über Geek

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    According to Wikipedia, the Earth's polarity changes every 0.1 to 1 million years and each reversal takes between 1000 and 10,000 years. During which time the magnetic field can reduce to 5% of its original strength. Does this mean migratory birds start getting lost more often?
     
  4. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    There is much debate on this at the moment. The next shift in poles could well be the first since they developed this skill. Also we don't really know how long it takes to shift or how. We currently think it may happen with a period of multiple poles springing up all over the planet till it settles down to be the reverse. Though it could also be a dramatic shift where it snaps over in no time at all. Should find out in the next few thousand years.