everdev 60 days ago [-]
If the magnetic field flipped 780k years ago [0] and animals do rely on it for survival (like migrations), wouldn't we see mass extinctions around those magnetic flips? Or maybe magnetic field navigation is a weak signal out of many?

[0] https://www.livescience.com/18426-earth-magnetic-poles-flip....

TeMPOraL 59 days ago [-]
If animals learn where to migrate from their parents/flock, then it would be reasonable to assume they learn the relation between where they should be going and what their magnetosense is telling them. The article implies that even during transition, the magnetic field is pretty much constant within a lifetime of any individual animal.

Now a tangential question I have is: how the hell do animals know where they should migrate? Is this learned from observation, or do they have some innate idea of where they should go?

notduncansmith 59 days ago [-]
I recently learned that salmon find their way back to their birth stream partly by smell: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-do-spawning-f...
partycoder 60 days ago [-]
Cows face north-south when grazing.
jacquesm 60 days ago [-]
That was one of the most interesting applications of Google maps that I know of.
pwaivers 59 days ago [-]
So this is pretty incredible. We know that animals can detect magnetic fields, but we don't know how they sense it!

I hope one day humans can have the same sense.

AstralStorm 58 days ago [-]
We actually kind of have a few putative mechanisms.

Certain proteins in eyes of some birds are magnetosensitive.

https://www.sciencealert.com/birds-see-magnetic-fields-crypt...

Pigeons apparently may have magnetosensitive balance sense for some reason.

https://www.nature.com/news/pigeons-may-hear-magnetic-fields...

tartuffe78 59 days ago [-]
Answer: We don't know yet.
glandium 59 days ago [-]
Do we really not know, though? "Birds can see Earth's magnetic fields because of cryptochromes in their eyes" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16823201
AstralStorm 58 days ago [-]
It's a putative mechanism not a fully explored one.