A new theory behind magnetoreception

Could sensitivity to the Earth's magntic fields be more common than we realise?
14 April 2023

Interview with 

Adam Bradlaugh, University of Manchester


One of the great unsolved mysteries in the animal and plant kingdoms is how some organisms are sensitive to magnetic fields. A surprising number of animals seem to show some kind of sensitivity to magnetic alignment, albeit probably not consciously. The majority of dogs will poo on a North-South axis; Naked mole rats live their entire lives in underground tunnels, but rarely get lost; and sea turtles migrate for thousands of miles every year and find the same beach they hatched from without fail. But whilst the examples are remarkable, the mechanisms behind magnetoreception are still elusive. But now a new theory has emerged, and it might imply sensitivity to magnetic fields is more common than we realise. Will Tingle has been finding out more…


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