Tag Archives: biology

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Birds Lose Their Magnetic Maps as Scientists Reverse Direction

The swallows will still come back to Capistrano, albatrosses will wing their way across vast oceans, and homing pigeons will still arrive at home. But scientists are no longer sure how they do it.

Until last week, some thought they had a pretty good idea. Birds had both a magnetic compass and a map that they followed over impossibly long distances. But research published in the latest issue of Nature shows that map-sensing cells that were supposedly built into a bird’s beak don’t really exis…