Source of Animals’ Magnetic Sense Found
Scientists say they’ve identified ‘internal compass needles’ in the noses of rainbow trout, helping explain the way many creatures can navigate using the Earth’s magnetic field. Neuroscientists recently discovered ‘GPS maps’ in pigeons’ brains, explaining how information on magnetism is encoded in the brain – but until now, nobody’s ever been able to pinpoint the cells that detect the magnetic field and convert the information into nerve impulses.
The University of Munich research team has finally identified magnetosensory cells in the olfactory epithelium of the trout. The findings raise the question of whether human cells are capable of forming magnetite and if so, how much.