As we’ve discussed before, Earth’s natural landscape is full of perplexing scientific mysteries. The quest to know comes with its fair share of new questions, but sometimes, science succeeds in answering some of these mysteries.
10 How Birds Navigate
Birds undertake some of the most mind-boggling journeys in terms of scale and never seem to lose their way while doing so. Exactly how they do it is one of the most perplexing enigmas to scientists and bird-watchers alike, especially the physical processes involved in the phenomenon.
However, a team of scientists from Peking University in China seems to have figured it out. The answer lies in the birds’ proteins.
We’ve always believed that birds travel via the magnetic field. So the Chinese researchers built on that idea by testing the birds’ proteins for clues. Sure enough, they found that the protein complex in pigeons and monarch butterflies aligns with the Earth’s magnetic field, shifting the alignment whenever they turned or otherwise headed in the wrong direction.
For the first time in history, this research revealed the anatomical structures that allow a bird to find its way home. This is a huge step toward understanding navigation in birds and other animals.