Friday, February 25, 2011

Loggerhead turtles have a magnetic sense for longitude - life - 25 February 2011 - New Scientist

Loggerhead turtles have a magnetic sense for longitude: To do this, the team placed newly hatched turtles in a circular tank equipped with a magnetic field generator. They tethered each turtle to a rotating arm to measure its swimming direction, and exposed it to a magnetic field simulating that at Puerto Rico or the Cape Verde Islands.

In both cases the turtles tended to swim in a direction that would put them back into the gyre...

How the turtles sense the magnetic field is still unknown, but Nikita Chernetsov of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Rybachy thinks they probably have organs similar to the magnetoreceptors found in the upper beaks of migratory birds.

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