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Pigeon GPS Identified

A population of neurons in pigeon brains encodes direction, intensity, and polarity of the Earth’s magnetic field.

By | April 26, 2012

image: Pigeon GPS Identified Flickr, Jean-Daniel Echenard

FLICKR, JEAN-DANIEL ECHENARD

Pigeons, sea turtles, spiny lobsters, and mole rats don’t need Google Maps or MapQuest to find their way home—they have built-in GPS. These animals and others rely on Earth’s magnetic field for orientation and navigation. But how their brains process magnetic information has been unclear.

Now, researchers have identified the neural source of magnetic sense in pigeons—single cells that encode three key positioning factors: the direction of a magnetic field, its intensity, and its polarity (north or south). The research, published today (April 26) in Science, is a first step toward understanding how animals, including humans, compute maps in their heads and could someday help clinicians treat individuals afflicted with spatial disorientation.

“The authors did a beautiful job” recording the neuronal activity, said Wolfgang Wiltschko of Goethe University in Frankfurt, the first scientist to demonstrate magnetic orientation in birds in the late 1960s, who was not involved in the research. “It’s a very stimulating paper.”

Last year, J. David Dickman and Le-Qing Wu at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas found that four major areas of the brain become active when pigeons respond to magnetic field changes: the vestibular region of the brainstem, the dorsal thalamus, visual regions in the cortex, and the hippocampus, known to be the site of spatial memory. Behavioral observations suggest that birds’ visual, vestibular, and auditory systems are all involved in magnetoreception, “so you would expect exactly these parts of the brain to be activated,” said Wiltschko. “If I were to construct a magnetic compass, I’d use these systems.”

Next, Dickman and Wu delved deeper into the brain to record the responses of individual neurons in these regions. Using seven awake pigeons, they recorded from 329 neurons in the vestibular area of the brainstem, while exposing the birds to an artificial magnetic field created by an open metal cube wrapped in wires and connected to a generator. The birds were also in the dark, so that there was no chance that the magnetic sense was being activated by the visual system, as has been proposed in the past.

When Dickman and Wu varied the direction of the magnetic field, its intensity, or its polarity, they recorded significant responses from 53 of the neurons tested. Different neurons responded to magnetic fields from specific directions, firing more frequently the more intense the field. “For the first time, we were able to quantify [magnetoreceptive] brain cells,” said Dickman. “Each cell is tuned to a different direction of the magnetic field in space—each has a maximum and minimum direction that it likes.” The cells also responded to field intensities from 20 microtesla (µT) up to 70 to 120 µT, a range that spans the Earth’s geomagnetic field of 25 to 65 µT.

But even with the cells underlying magnetoreception identified in pigeons, another question looms: what part of the body receives the magnetic cues and transmits them to the neurons? “We’re going after the receptor next,” said Dickman.

Scientists have proposed the retina, nose, and inner ear as the site of a receptor in birds. From ablation studies in which he lesioned the inner ear, Dickman believes that is the site of the magnetoreceptor, but Wiltschko said behavioral studies point to the visual system. The visual center of the brain is very close to the vestibular center, where Dickman’s team identified the magnetoreceptive neurons, so it’s possible that both are involved, said Wiltschko. “I’m really looking forward to what’s happening in the field,” he said.

L. Wu and J.D. Dickman. “Neural correlates of a magnetic sense,” Science, doi:10.1126/science.1216567, 2012.

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Avatar of: Robert Cahn

Robert Cahn

Posts: 5

April 27, 2012

Congratulations and all my love to Mike Menaker and even Donald Farner wherever they may be ( in Heaven at  least, I hope!
Dr. ROBERT D. CAHN, Ph. D. AKA
Prof. Abishai Israel Ph.d.
U.W. (Seattle) retired

Avatar of: deo_shenai

deo_shenai

Posts: 12

April 27, 2012

Interesting info....

Avatar of: deo_shenai

deo_shenai

Posts: 12

April 27, 2012

Insightful article and excellent research regarding built-in GPS in pigeons that leverages Earth's magnetic field for orientation and navigation. Fascinating facts. No wonder that pigeons were used strategically as messangers centuries ago by Indians, Greeks and Romans. This is very interesting information. Thanks. 

Deodatta Shenai-Khatkhate, Danvers, MA.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 27, 2012

Congratulations and all my love to Mike Menaker and even Donald Farner wherever they may be ( in Heaven at  least, I hope!
Dr. ROBERT D. CAHN, Ph. D. AKA
Prof. Abishai Israel Ph.d.
U.W. (Seattle) retired

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 27, 2012

Interesting info....

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 27, 2012

Insightful article and excellent research regarding built-in GPS in pigeons that leverages Earth's magnetic field for orientation and navigation. Fascinating facts. No wonder that pigeons were used strategically as messangers centuries ago by Indians, Greeks and Romans. This is very interesting information. Thanks. 

Deodatta Shenai-Khatkhate, Danvers, MA.

April 27, 2012

Great research. The other wonders of nature are sound recognition of Mother by Chicken babies and Duck babies; smell by goats, buffaloes and cows etc.

Dr. A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

Avatar of: Dimiter Prodanov

Dimiter Prodanov

Posts: 1

April 27, 2012

Very important and impressive study. Perhaps magnetoreception is not restricted only to birds. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 27, 2012

Great research. The other wonders of nature are sound recognition of Mother by Chicken babies and Duck babies; smell by goats, buffaloes and cows etc.

Dr. A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 27, 2012

Very important and impressive study. Perhaps magnetoreception is not restricted only to birds. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 28, 2012

I'm just guessing but I believe they will find that the so-called "receptor" of the magnetic field is the cell orientation itself. Why? Because even in the microtesla range a magnetic field will only be disturbed by another magnetic field or a ferrous metal. The fields flow right through the body with little or no resistance.  The cluster of cells oriented in slightly different ways are probably flagging main processing (hippocampus?) that a field is this or that polarity and direction. Just as pressing a certain arrow key on a keyboard gives a computer input about direction and holding it down provides the strength of the input, the firing pattern of these orientation cells in groups is providing the pigeon the data it needs to orient itself properly.

Check the firing pattern, not normal sensory areas or the biochemistry of the ions in the firing pattern (they will all be probably the same anyway in regard to the non-firing or firing ion gradients). The answer is in the group, not the individual cells, in my opinion.

Of course the biochemistry of these individual cells in the group is somehow excited by the magnetic field characteristics but that may simply be a function of the flux. Remember that, for example, in electricty generation the current is induced when the magnetic field collapses and reforms, not while in a steady state. So the receptor cells may be geared to changes and remain at rest (non-firing) in the steady state.

Just thinking out loud.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 28, 2012

 Louder!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 28, 2012

excellent article
Thank you
http://www.sadap-ponsel.com/ 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 28, 2012

The scientists are on
the good or God way!

According to LMSC
(learning management system control), the radio-antennas are oriented to the intelligible
signal direction by the microprocessors.

In 03.02.2010 on http://www.the-scientist.com/b...
was exposed “Quantum photosynthesis - Biologists have traditionally left
quantum theory to physicists, but new findings suggest it may play a role in
photosynthesisâ€쳌.

In 04.02.2010 on http://www.the-scientist.com/b...,
was exposed “Sperm motility secrets revealedâ€쳌. By measuring the electrical
current passing through the sperm cell membrane, researchers at the University
of California, San Francisco, identified a channel that releases a flood of
protons from a sperm cell, initiating its trip up the fallopian tubes and on to
the egg.

I suppose that the biologists shall collaborate
with the bio-physicists to understand that the signal that is processed by
brain trough LMSC is coming trough mitochondria channel.

Please read carefully my brochure *Adam
mtDNA theory* (ISBN 978-606-92107-1-0 - in English language), exposed on the site (Does God is specialist in
electronic?) - http://cititordeproza.ning.com...

Abstract:
Brain and soul storming - The
necessary and sufficient processes to a well function of the human body are
meticulous arranged by specific organizational cells, so called process
bio-managers, using interconditioned procedures, transmitted through three ways
of communication: chemical or “protein channelâ€쳌, electrical or “ion channelâ€쳌
and mitochondrial or “EMF wireless channelâ€쳌. The third type is out of the
visible and measurable spectrum and raises a new challenge to the scientist.
For this type of bio communication we bring a new theoretical hypothesis, based
on the managerial multidisciplinary analysis of a cybernetic model proposed by
us, by simulating the human body function with the virtual computerized system
based on the management of its total knowledge and its perfect quality way of
function. The main bricks used for this virtual construction are: the brain, as
main bio-processor, and Eve mtDNA and Adam mtDNA, as bio-antennas. This
assembly of the total knowledge, build with “brain reasoning, biological
feeling, and unlimited soul feelingâ€쳌, is called by us “main decision triangle,
IQ-EQ-CQâ€쳌. The main principle of the management of the total knowledge imposes
us to not neglect the information produced by man during the time, even if it
seems creasy at the beginning (see brainstorming definition). Because in the
natural fertilisation the spermatozoids are naturally equipped with the
paternal mtDNA (it looks like reflex clystron power amplifier, KPA = a
veritable main bio-GPS), we consider that the paternal mitochondria DNA have a
very important role in the evolution of the human being life quality and we
have developed a new hypothesis, “Adam mtDNA theoryâ€쳌, in addition to “Eve mtDNA
theoryâ€쳌. Keywords: brain, mitochondria, maternal, paternal
 

Avatar of: agelbert

agelbert

Posts: 50

April 28, 2012

I'm just guessing but I believe they will find that the so-called "receptor" of the magnetic field is the cell orientation itself. Why? Because even in the microtesla range a magnetic field will only be disturbed by another magnetic field or a ferrous metal. The fields flow right through the body with little or no resistance.  The cluster of cells oriented in slightly different ways are probably flagging main processing (hippocampus?) that a field is this or that polarity and direction. Just as pressing a certain arrow key on a keyboard gives a computer input about direction and holding it down provides the strength of the input, the firing pattern of these orientation cells in groups is providing the pigeon the data it needs to orient itself properly.

Check the firing pattern, not normal sensory areas or the biochemistry of the ions in the firing pattern (they will all be probably the same anyway in regard to the non-firing or firing ion gradients). The answer is in the group, not the individual cells, in my opinion.

Of course the biochemistry of these individual cells in the group is somehow excited by the magnetic field characteristics but that may simply be a function of the flux. Remember that, for example, in electricty generation the current is induced when the magnetic field collapses and reforms, not while in a steady state. So the receptor cells may be geared to changes and remain at rest (non-firing) in the steady state.

Just thinking out loud.

Avatar of: RichardPatrock

RichardPatrock

Posts: 52

April 28, 2012

 Louder!

April 28, 2012

excellent article
Thank you
http://www.sadap-ponsel.com/ 

Avatar of: alexandru

alexandru

Posts: 1457

April 28, 2012

The scientists are on
the good or God way!

According to LMSC
(learning management system control), the radio-antennas are oriented to the intelligible
signal direction by the microprocessors.

In 03.02.2010 on http://www.the-scientist.com/b...
was exposed “Quantum photosynthesis - Biologists have traditionally left
quantum theory to physicists, but new findings suggest it may play a role in
photosynthesisâ€쳌.

In 04.02.2010 on http://www.the-scientist.com/b...,
was exposed “Sperm motility secrets revealedâ€쳌. By measuring the electrical
current passing through the sperm cell membrane, researchers at the University
of California, San Francisco, identified a channel that releases a flood of
protons from a sperm cell, initiating its trip up the fallopian tubes and on to
the egg.

I suppose that the biologists shall collaborate
with the bio-physicists to understand that the signal that is processed by
brain trough LMSC is coming trough mitochondria channel.

Please read carefully my brochure *Adam
mtDNA theory* (ISBN 978-606-92107-1-0 - in English language), exposed on the site (Does God is specialist in
electronic?) - http://cititordeproza.ning.com...

Abstract:
Brain and soul storming - The
necessary and sufficient processes to a well function of the human body are
meticulous arranged by specific organizational cells, so called process
bio-managers, using interconditioned procedures, transmitted through three ways
of communication: chemical or “protein channelâ€쳌, electrical or “ion channelâ€쳌
and mitochondrial or “EMF wireless channelâ€쳌. The third type is out of the
visible and measurable spectrum and raises a new challenge to the scientist.
For this type of bio communication we bring a new theoretical hypothesis, based
on the managerial multidisciplinary analysis of a cybernetic model proposed by
us, by simulating the human body function with the virtual computerized system
based on the management of its total knowledge and its perfect quality way of
function. The main bricks used for this virtual construction are: the brain, as
main bio-processor, and Eve mtDNA and Adam mtDNA, as bio-antennas. This
assembly of the total knowledge, build with “brain reasoning, biological
feeling, and unlimited soul feelingâ€쳌, is called by us “main decision triangle,
IQ-EQ-CQâ€쳌. The main principle of the management of the total knowledge imposes
us to not neglect the information produced by man during the time, even if it
seems creasy at the beginning (see brainstorming definition). Because in the
natural fertilisation the spermatozoids are naturally equipped with the
paternal mtDNA (it looks like reflex clystron power amplifier, KPA = a
veritable main bio-GPS), we consider that the paternal mitochondria DNA have a
very important role in the evolution of the human being life quality and we
have developed a new hypothesis, “Adam mtDNA theoryâ€쳌, in addition to “Eve mtDNA
theoryâ€쳌. Keywords: brain, mitochondria, maternal, paternal
 

Avatar of: rosinbio

rosinbio

Posts: 117

April 29, 2012

No need to get excited! Before anyone claims to have identified in pigons a pgs that is based on the earth's magnetic field, it is necessary to provide fully valid evidence that pigeons ever use a PGS. None  of the claims so far published, that pigeons (or any other sub-human living organisms, for that matter), can navigate by using the earth's magnetc field, can withstand a fully rigorous scientific scrutiny.

 We must,therefore, conclude the following:

The only living organisms able to navigate by using the earth's magnetic field are humans. And humans can do it only providing they fashion, purchase, borrow, or steal a magnetic compass. I.e. they too do not have any sense organ that responds to magnetic forces. (At least no one has ever identified such a sense organ in humans, or even tried to search for one.) Humans, however, unlike any othe living organisms, they have "brains" that enabled them to discover inanimate magnets that react to magnetic forces, and can be made into compasses to use for navigation.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 29, 2012

No need to get excited! Before anyone claims to have identified in pigons a pgs that is based on the earth's magnetic field, it is necessary to provide fully valid evidence that pigeons ever use a PGS. None  of the claims so far published, that pigeons (or any other sub-human living organisms, for that matter), can navigate by using the earth's magnetc field, can withstand a fully rigorous scientific scrutiny.

 We must,therefore, conclude the following:

The only living organisms able to navigate by using the earth's magnetic field are humans. And humans can do it only providing they fashion, purchase, borrow, or steal a magnetic compass. I.e. they too do not have any sense organ that responds to magnetic forces. (At least no one has ever identified such a sense organ in humans, or even tried to search for one.) Humans, however, unlike any othe living organisms, they have "brains" that enabled them to discover inanimate magnets that react to magnetic forces, and can be made into compasses to use for navigation.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 1, 2012

I repeat:

Humans cannot navigate on the basis of the earth's magnetic field, unless they use an external tool, i.e. a magnetc compass, which they discovered how to fashin, afte rfinding inanimate magnets in nature, and studying their proerties; all of which required nothing less than human "brains", which no sub-humans have.

Nonethe less, many scientists believe that various sub-humans can navigate by using the earth's magnetic field, while relying on biological magnetic-sensors, which those sub-humans presumably develop as part of their own living bodies. All attemptst to identify any such biological magnetic-sensors have so far failed for the very simple reason that all claims for the existence of navigation by use of the earth's magnetic field in sub-humans. are not valid, and cannot withstand a fullyrigorous scientific investigation. I had debunked many such claims years ago on Scifraud, under my user name of Rosinbio.

To navigate byusing the earth's magnetic field requires an ability tomove inany desireddirection in relation to the directionofthe earth's magntic forces. Even the famous "magnetotactic" bacteria can do nothing of the sort.

So why waste time searching for biological magnetic-sensors without evidence that they exist at all? The only reason this is still being done by various scientists is that many scientists are, unfortunately, not very bright!

                                    

Avatar of: rosinbio

rosinbio

Posts: 117

May 1, 2012

I repeat:

Humans cannot navigate on the basis of the earth's magnetic field, unless they use an external tool, i.e. a magnetc compass, which they discovered how to fashin, afte rfinding inanimate magnets in nature, and studying their proerties; all of which required nothing less than human "brains", which no sub-humans have.

Nonethe less, many scientists believe that various sub-humans can navigate by using the earth's magnetic field, while relying on biological magnetic-sensors, which those sub-humans presumably develop as part of their own living bodies. All attemptst to identify any such biological magnetic-sensors have so far failed for the very simple reason that all claims for the existence of navigation by use of the earth's magnetic field in sub-humans. are not valid, and cannot withstand a fullyrigorous scientific investigation. I had debunked many such claims years ago on Scifraud, under my user name of Rosinbio.

To navigate byusing the earth's magnetic field requires an ability tomove inany desireddirection in relation to the directionofthe earth's magntic forces. Even the famous "magnetotactic" bacteria can do nothing of the sort.

So why waste time searching for biological magnetic-sensors without evidence that they exist at all? The only reason this is still being done by various scientists is that many scientists are, unfortunately, not very bright!

                                    

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 4, 2012

 interesting

Avatar of: Robert

Robert

Posts: 2

May 4, 2012

 interesting

Avatar of: emaronde

emaronde

Posts: 3

May 9, 2012

Its not restricted to bird, blind mole rats have also been shown to respond to magnetic fields (see here Neuroanatomy of magnetoreception: the superior colliculus is involved in magnetic orientation in a mammal.
Nemec P, Altmann J, Marhold S, Burda H, Oelschlager HH. Science. 2001 Oct 12;294(5541):366-8.) Inspiring research indeed. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 9, 2012

Its not restricted to bird, blind mole rats have also been shown to respond to magnetic fields (see here Neuroanatomy of magnetoreception: the superior colliculus is involved in magnetic orientation in a mammal.
Nemec P, Altmann J, Marhold S, Burda H, Oelschlager HH. Science. 2001 Oct 12;294(5541):366-8.) Inspiring research indeed. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

May 30, 2012

And once we transfer cloned versions of these cells into humans we can dispense with GPS devices?

Or will we all end up walking to the North Pole?

Avatar of: Edward R. Mikol

Edward R. Mikol

Posts: 1457

May 30, 2012

And once we transfer cloned versions of these cells into humans we can dispense with GPS devices?

Or will we all end up walking to the North Pole?

June 11, 2012

But birds, insects, bats, and aquatic creatures DO have 3D movement abilities.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 11, 2012

But birds, insects, bats, and aquatic creatures DO have 3D movement abilities.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

June 12, 2012

I do not understand the comment! What's an ability to move in 3D (available to practically all living animals) got to do with use of the earth magnetic-field to navigate? The human who posted that comment can undoubtedly also move in 3D, and unless he is using a compass, he does it without using the earth magnetic-field!
All I maintain is that searching for biological magnetic-sensors is a futile attempt to answer a non-problem, because the belief by many, that various animals can navigate by using the earth magetic-field (which they presumably sense through biological magnetic-sensors), is based on wishful thinking, not supported by any valid evidence! Humans are the only living organisms able to use the earth magnetic-field to navigate. But they do not have any biological magnetic- sensors either, and can do it only by using an external inanimate compass; which no other animal has the "brains" to fashion.

Avatar of: rosinbio

rosinbio

Posts: 117

June 12, 2012

I do not understand the comment! What's an ability to move in 3D (available to practically all living animals) got to do with use of the earth magnetic-field to navigate? The human who posted that comment can undoubtedly also move in 3D, and unless he is using a compass, he does it without using the earth magnetic-field!
All I maintain is that searching for biological magnetic-sensors is a futile attempt to answer a non-problem, because the belief by many, that various animals can navigate by using the earth magetic-field (which they presumably sense through biological magnetic-sensors), is based on wishful thinking, not supported by any valid evidence! Humans are the only living organisms able to use the earth magnetic-field to navigate. But they do not have any biological magnetic- sensors either, and can do it only by using an external inanimate compass; which no other animal has the "brains" to fashion.

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