Science Meat Compass
posted by August 26 at 10:04 AMon
It took the invention of Google Earth to reveal a simple fact about our friend, the cow: It likes to stand facing north. Or south.
German scientists used satellite photos to analyze 8,510 cattle at 308 places around the world. The animals were standing on flat ground and not near water, feeding areas, or other things that might influence their position.
The resolution of the images was not sufficient to tell which ends of the cows were pointing north, however.
Researchers have long known that certain bacteria, birds, fish, whales and even rodents have minute organs in their brains containing particles of magnetite that can act like a compass.
The LA Times article ends with this comically dour sentence:
Experts acknowledged that the research almost certainly has no practical applications.
Obviously, they’ve never been lost in the countryside.