Life On Earth
Do Birds Have Built In Heads-Up Displays?
It has been no secret that birds feel the Earth's magnetic field, which is how they are able to navigate during migration. Even though that sounds like a pretty cool ability to have, new research from Oxford University and the Nation University of Singapore suggests that they can actually see
According to Oxford's press release, when light hits a special molecule in the avian's eye, electrons can become displaced by a few nanometers. That creates an electric "dipole field", which augments the bird's vision until the electron gets back to its original location. As the bird moves its head, the patterns shift, allowing them to see information about the earth's gravitational pull and navigational direction. This would mean that birds essentially have natural built in heads up displays like those you see in fighter jets. While this does sound a little on the advanced side, researchers say that this kind of trait isn't hard at all to evolve because it doesn't require any additional organs, instead just piggybacking on what already exists.
Further study is needed to verify the accuracy of these findings, but it is some nice food for thought.
By Denis Ivanov
Source: Oxford University
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