Sci. Signal., 29 May 2012
Neuroscience Magnetic Sense
Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA.
Many species orient and navigate using aspects of Earths magnetic field. Magnetic receptors have been found in the eyes, ears, and bills of birds, but there has been no clear evidence of the neural mechanism by which magnetic signals are translated into direction. Recording from the brainstem within conscious pigeons, Wu and Dickman (see the Perspective by Winklhofer) reveal the presence of neurons in the pigeons brain that encode the inclination angle and intensity of the geomagnetic field. Thus, pigeons, and perhaps other species, can develop an internal model of geopositional latitude to facilitate spatial orientation and navigation based on magnetoreception.
Citation: S. Vignieri, Magnetic Sense. Sci. Signal. 5, ec153 (2012).
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