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Earth Science

Dung Beetles Navigate By the Milky Way; Pigeons Tune In To Magnetism 82

sciencehabit writes with this excerpt from Science magazine's colorful synopsis of a paywalled article at Current Biology "A day in the life of a male dung beetle goes something like this: Fly to a heap of dung, sculpt a clump of it into a large ball, then roll the ball away from the pile as fast as possible. However, it turns out that the beetles, who work at night, need some sort of compass to prevent them from rolling around in circles. New research suggests that the insects use starlight to guide their way. Birds, seals, and humans also use starlight to navigate, but this is the first time it's been shown in an insect." Also on the topic of How Animals Get Around Without GPS, new research has considerably heightened scientists understanding of birds' sensitivity to magnetic fields. For homing pigeons at least, this ability seems to be tied to a cluster of just 53 neurons (original paper, also behind a paywall).
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Dung Beetles Navigate By the Milky Way; Pigeons Tune In To Magnetism

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  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @03:57AM (#42706089) Journal
    Apparently, Vikings did it too, with a special stone [].
  • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Sunday January 27, 2013 @09:15AM (#42706713)

    An excerpt of a synopsis? Really? Is that what we're down to these days? Seems to me like the upper management method of running things has come into full swing.

    Whenever I submit a story to /., it's a synopsis I found on google news, usually it's a straight copy/paste. That's usually what the editors here get and have to work with. I suppose that their job involves doing far more behind the scenes than, as /. viewers, we're privy to. Seems to me they do the best they can with what they get, and do clean up the sloppy story submissions they recieve.

    Many's been the time that the /. eds research a story idea I submitted much further/deeper, providing a far more improved, informative story synopsis, entirely re-doing my submission over from scratch.

    My hat gets doffed to the editors, they all do their best to keep improving this site. Samzepus, Soulskill, Timothy and the rest. For example, I have more respect and understanding of 'Timothy', who when I first started reading /., I assumed was some smartass techie kid, and who I'm guilty of goofing on a bit in some of my earliest posts (sorry 'bout those, Tim) . I learned that he's an intelligent man who knows a great deal about varied subjects. Live and learn.

    The editors provide the content here, and it is up to the users of the site to expand on the provided story, and they almost always come through. I know I've expanded my world knowledge from reading this site over the last several years.

    Slashdot editors are human too, and I don't think I'd want the job myself, and I've got a pretty thick skin. To have the whole world watching and critiquing my work (especially while I'm having a bad day anyway, the commenters can get really brutal here), no thanks!

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