Posts Tagged ‘information on birds’

Pigeons’ brains have ‘GPS neurons’ to help them navigate, scientists found

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Article Shared From: The Global Post 

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Pigeons‘ brains appear to contain “GPS neurons” that help them navigate, according to a new study published in Science journal.

Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas have discovered a group of 53 cells in the birds’ brains that respond to the direction and strength of the Earth’s magnetic field, BBC News reported.

Le-Qing Wu and David Dickman, the study’s lead researchers, found that the neurons “buzz” at different levels depending on how strong the magnetic field is and which direction it’s pointing in, Discover Magazine’s blog reported(more…)

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New study overturns prevailing theory of how birds navigate

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Article Shared From: Bird Watching Daily

Posted Wed, Apr 11 2012 11:47 AM by Matt Mendenhall

Scientists have thrown cold water on the theory that iron-rich nerve cells in birds’ bills help them navigate using Earth’s magnetic field.

Researchers from Austria, France, Australia, and England, writing in a new study published today in Nature, report that iron-rich cells in the bills of pigeons are in fact specialized white blood cells called macrophages. Macrophages play a vital role in defending against infection and recycling iron from red blood cells, but they’re unlikely to be involved in magnetic sensing, the scientists say. That’s because they are not excitable cells and cannot produce electrical signals that could be registered by neurons and therefore influence a bird’s behavior.
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