Nature article reports photoreceptors involved in sensing the earths magnetic field
Migratory birds, as well as many other animals, are able to sense the magnetic field of the earth, but how do they do it? "A fascinating possibility is that they may actually see the earths magnetic lines as patterns of color or light intensity superimposed on their visual surroundings," said John B. Phillips of Blacksburg, associate professor of biology at Virginia Tech. The results of more than two decades of research allow him to let such an image cross his mind.
A paper in the May 13 issue of Nature, "Resonance effects indicate a radical-pair mechanism for avian magnetic compass," reports evidence that the earths magnetic field is sensed by light-absorbing molecules in the retina of a birds eye.
Susan Trulove | EurekAlert!
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