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Animal magneto-reception

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

The image shows a homing pigeon in a flight. The bird has both wings up, just before squeezing them down. A beautiful scenery of a lake and mountains is in the background of the image.

The sixth sense that humans will never have – magneto-reception. Thanks to magneto-reception, animals such as homing pigeons, salmons, or fruit flies can detect Earth’s magnetic field. This helps them to orient themselves and use this specific sense for migration, in the case of salmon, or to track the route back home, in the case of homing pigeons. Some animals, such as fruit flies, that have the ability of magneto-reception, seems not to need it. The solar activity sometimes causes disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field. This can influence the animals in their activities, as it happened in 2021, when thousands of homing pigeons got lost during a race in the United Kingdom. There are studies that show that even animals like dogs or foxes use their magneto-reception to orient themselves. But do we, humans have magneto-reception? Can we feel changes in the Earth’s magnetic field?

To that, and many other topics related to magneto-reception, you will find an answer in our audiobooklet.

Listen to the audio

Audio booklet: Animal Magneto-reception

Make tactile images

Tactile image: Earth’s magnetic field

Tactile image: Space weather

Print 3D models

3D model: Earth

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