25
Aug
08

Magnetic Reckoning with Cows (Could you point me towards…?)

Rather than remark about the Recreate 68 Riot outside or the Demwits inside and their love fest for an empty suit, a woman that looks bad in a pants suit or adoration of an ignored negligent homicider, I thought I would post about something more relevent for you, should you become lost in the open range or a pasture.    

Direction Finder

Direction Finder

German scientists using satellite images posted online by the Google Earth software program have observed something that has escaped the notice of farmers, herders and hunters for thousands of years: Cattle grazing or at rest tend to orient their bodies in a north-south direction just like a compass needle.

Studying photographs of 8,510 cattle in 308 herds from around the world, zoologists Sabine Begall and Hynek Burda of the University of Duisburg-Essen and their colleagues found that two out of every three animals in the pictures were oriented in a direction roughly pointing to magnetic north.

Cows are known to align their bodies facing uphill, facing into a strong wind to minimize heat loss or broadside to the sun on cold mornings to absorb heat, but the fact that the pictures were taken at many locations, at different times of day and in generally calm weather minimized the impact of environmental factors, the researchers said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-cows26-2008aug26,0,7611516.story


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