Humanoids are stupid. Laugh at them.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cows Have Strange Sixth Sense

Google Earth, proving its awesome once again, has now helped researchers find that herds of cattle tend to face in the north-south direction of Earth's magnetic lines.

Their field observations of red and roe deer also showed those animals facing toward magnetic north or south, a strange "sixth sense" to detect magnetism.

"Google Earth is perfect for this kind of research, because the animals are undisturbed by the observer," said Sabine Begall, a zoologist at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and coauthor on the study detailed in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wind and time of day did not offer better explanations for why 8,510 cattle in 308 locations around the world would mostly face north-south. Shadows suggested that many of the images were taken on cloudless, sunny days, so Begall's group also factored in direct ground observations of cattle herds.

Both cattle and deer faced a more magnetic north-south direction rather than geographic north-south, (Earth's magnetic poles do not line up perfectly with the North and South Poles).

Previous research has shown that animals such as birds, turtles and salmon migrate using a sense of magnetic direction, and small mammals such as rodents and one bat species also have a magnetic compass.



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