“Space Cue” hypothesis – a new approach to the bird navigation problem – Vallerii Kanevskyi
Vallerii Kanevskyi has written this fascinating paper that describes how animals navigate but not in the terms of analogies of human navigation such as GPS but in terms of the very essence of quantum mechanics and consciousness. I believe that this approach will in fact lead to a much better understanding of how animals actually navigate.
“Space Cue” hypothesis – a new approach to the bird navigation problem
It seems to me that we have got a real, though very slight opportunity to touch the Space, being the principal mystery of physics, by using the amazing biological phenomenon, namely, the navigation of living creatures.
The mystery of animal navigation remains unrevealed despite a large number of hypotheses and experiments. The clue to the navigation puzzle is contained in none of the available theories assuming the presence of sensors of a magnetic or gravitational field and the ability to memorize the position of stars, the landscape pattern, and the odours inherent in a definite place.
The problem of animal navigation is closely related to the unsolved fundamental problems of modern physics.
Proposed hypothesis of animal navigation is called Space Cue (SC) because it declares that the animal navigation mechanism is associated with the immanent fundamental physical properties of space (PPS) that physicists use to build a Unified Field Theory (the so-called “theory of ALL”). According to Unified Field Theory, gravitational, magnetic and electrical fields, constant and variable, have a common nature and are particular manifestations of the physical properties of space (PPS), which are discussed in the SC hypothesis.
Despite the fact that at present the physical aspects of the SC hypothesis are under study by theoretical physicists the consequences that follow from the SC hypothesis are of great interest for both biology and physics.
1. Background and objectives
1.1. “Space Cue” hypothesis
“Space Cue” hypothesis declares the use of physical properties of the space by living creatures for their navigation.
1.2. What are the physical properties of the space (PPS)?
As distinct from biologists, physicists and mathematicians paid a particular attention for a long time to the study of physical, geometric, and topological properties of the space -Aristotle,Newton, Mach, Leibniz, Einstein.
The first experiments to study the physical properties of space were carried out on a cosmic scale to demonstrate the property of space to become curved in accordance with Einstein’s theory of relativity .
Later astrophysicists discovered dark matter in space, which constitutes more than half the mass of the universe. According to theoretical physicists, this matter is a manifestation of the properties of space that are unknown today.
Today, space properties are studied not only on a cosmic scale, but also on a scale of ordinary life.
Laboratory experiments have demonstrated amazing physical properties of vacuum space. In 1948, Dutch physicist Hendrick Casimir predicted that the vacuum space is not empty (the Casimir Effect). In 1996 it was proved experimentally at Los Alamos National Laboratory . According to the quantum theory of the vacuum, its physical properties are revealed in the spontaneous creation of virtual particles and antiparticles of different types.
Under the action of an external physical field on the vacuum, the creation of real particles and antiparticles can be observed.
At the present time, the physical properties of the vacuum attract a high attention: the vacuum is probed by femtosecond lasers with giant power (10+22 W) and by strong Coulomb fields, which leads to the creation of real different elementary particles from the vacuum (from «nothing») including the photons of electromagnetic field .
“Emptiness is everything” has become a popular saying among physicists.
Particular interest are physical experiments testifying the possibility of studies of amazing physical properties of empty space inside graphene film at ordinary laboratory, without use of extreme physical conditions, and on scales of interatomic space that is commensurate with the scaleof the space inside biomolecules and the living cell .
Unfortunately, as distinct from physicists and mathematicians, biologists did not paid attention to physical properties of the space.
Although the study of the mysterious properties of space is at the very beginning biologists are given a unique chance to participate in these fundamental research with physicists and the presented SC hypothesis can be considered the first such example.
Therefore, SC hypothesis may have consequences for both biology and physics.
1.3. Consequences that follow from Space Cue (SC) hypothesis for biology and physics
- SC hypothesis unites all available hypotheses about the navigation of animals that involve the magnetic (M), gravitational (G), or electric (E) fields of the Earth in the frame of a single conception and asserts their consistency in view of the united nature of the M, G, and E fields based on physical properties of the space (PPS)According to Unified Field Theory [5,6].
SC hypothesis can be the first step to the construction of the Unified Theory of the Navigation of animals.
- SC hypothesis declares that animals can use completely different principles to navigate as compared with the navigation technology used in the human civilization.
Therefore, it is a mistake to look for biological analogues of existing navigation instruments such as magnetic compass, gyroscope, or GPS.
SC hypothesis can be the first step on the way to design new technological navigation toolsbased on sensing of PPS.
- SC hypothesis assumes that animals can directly detect PPS with the help of a particularized biosensor, or receive information about PPS indirectly by detecting of magnetic, gravitational and electrical fields, which are particular manifestations of the PPS.
- The most probable pretender to the role of a biosensor of PPS can be a brain and/or its separate cells. Totest this assumption, it is planned to carry out lab. experiments with neurohybrid – neuronal cell culture integrated with MEMS (Micro Electrical and Mechanical System) .
The goal of lab. experiments with neurohybrid is to study the electrophysiological response of neuronal cell culture to variation of artificially created local gravitational field.
This study is based on the molecular mechanisms of cell sensitivity to gravity and on the relationship of the gravity to PPS.
- The experiment with neuronal cell cultures and gravity is important to understand the biophysical mechanism of SC hypothesis because it touches upon the fundamental physical problem of different behaviour of gravity on a large and small scale.
The first to suggest a difference in the behaviour of gravity on large and small scales was Tilloy who wanted to combine quantum theory with relativism .
Lab.experiments with neuronalcell culture and artificially created local gravitational field are consonant with the physical experiments conducted by National Institute of Standards and Technology (USA)to study the properties of gravity on a small scale of 100-1000 nm and their difference from properties for large scales .
Because a small scale of 100-1000 nm corresponds to the size of neuron and its internal components, experiments with neuronal cell culture and gravity as manifestation of PPS are important to study the molecular mechanism of SC hypothesis on the scale of alive cell.
In this case, we may say not only about physical properties of the habitat spaceof animals, but also about the physical properties of local intrinsic space of brain and intrinsic space ofneurons.The physical properties of the listed spaces are closely related but may differ and according to SC hypothesis the physical properties of the listed spaces can be used by animals to navigate.
- Taking into account that the consciousness is the principal property of a brain and that the brain is the most probable pretender to the role of a biosensor of PPS it is logical to assume that the consciousness can play important role in sensing of PPS and animal navigation.
- SC hypothesis will stimulate the revision of the results of previous navigation experiments executed to verify separately the magnetism-, gravity-, or electricity-based theories of navigation of animals.
The target of a revision will be the search for a correlationbetween the results of experiments oriented to the support of magnetism-, gravity-, or electricity-based theories of navigation.
The discovery of such correlationwill testify that animals feel something that joins the magnetic, gravitational, and electric fields of the Earth. The presence of a correlation will confirm the SC hypothesis about the ability of animals to feel PPS because according to the United Field Theory, magnetic, gravitational, and electric fields have the common nature underlying PPS.
- SC hypothesis stimulate to perform new real field and laboratory experiments for its verification. New experiments are based on the effect of different combinations of magnetic (M), gravity (G) and electric (E) fields constant and/or variable in time on the navigation ability of animals and on biophysical characteristics of their brains.
- SC hypothesis is thefirst step to build Unified Navigation Theory of animal, based on fundamental physical theory – Unified Field Theory.
- SC hypothesis is a first attempt to use the physical properties of the space for the explanation of biological phenomena.
2. Experimental research
SC hypothesis leads to the necessity to perform new experiments for its verification, where the effect of different combinations of magnetic, gravity and electric fields constant and/or variable in time on the navigation ability of animals and on biophysical characteristics of their brains and neuronal cell culture will be investigated.
The proposed scheme of newexperiments is the advanced version used in 1984-2012 in Ukraine to prove “Gravity Vector navigation theory”[10,11,12]. The gravitational hypothesis of navigation proposed in 1984became the motivator for the development of “Space Cue” hypothesis . Advanced version of gravity-based navigation theory of far migrant birds was presented in RIN13 .
In the previous experiments the influence of constant magnetic and gravitational fields of anomalies on the navigation of birds was studied. The procedure of experiments involved the real-time GPS monitoring of a flight path and the course of a homing pigeon in real flight conditions.
2.1. Full-scale real flight experiments performed on Ukrainian geophysical test grounds to verify Gravity Vector Navigation Model (1984-2012)
a- choosing the right direction to the loft leads to the most rapid decrease in the angle α between the current direction of a gravity vector (Gcurrent) and the direction of the gravity vector at the loft (GL).
Blue disc (bio-gyroscope) “memorizes” the direction of the gravity vector at the loft (GL). Gravity vector (G) changes its direction in the area of the anomaly (Gcurrent).
b- this vector splits into two components: horizontal projection of the gravity anomaly vector (GAh) and the gravity vector (G) directed to the center of Globe. New flight direction is defined by decreasing the angle α.
Experiment 1. Ukraine, 1985 . Real-time remote monitoring of EEG and the location of a bird in gravity anomaly area.
Experiment 2.(2010-2012) .
Homing pigeon navigation experiments conducted in Ukraine in gravity and magnetic anomalies area (2010-2012).
Experiment 3 (2010-2011) 
Fig.3. Real-time GPS monitoring of pigeon’s flight path (light blue tracks) in the area of overlapping of the gravity and magnetic anomalies. Ukraine geophysical test ground, 2011. The ambiguous reaction of the pigeon to the hybrid gravity-magnetic anomaly is well traced: in one case, the pigeon crosses it without any change in the flight direction and flies round it in another case.
Performed experiments show that the birds in their free flight can feel weak changes in the gravity field against the background of large inertial forces caused by periodic sharp accelerations of their bodies during the flight due to wingbeats.
To explain this experimental result, SChypothesis assumes that birds can feel the nature of gravity and distinguish it from the nature of inertia forces.
Such an assumption does not contradict the principle of equivalence declaring the identity of manifestation ofthe forces of inertia and gravity for an external observer .
But the principle of equivalence does not deny the possibility of a difference in the physical nature of inertia and gravity forces.
Taking into account that the nature of gravity is a manifestation of properties of the space, it is possible to assume that above experimental results support the hypothesis about the ability of birds to feel physical properties of the space.
However, the previous experiments gave no answer about the ability of birdsto sense PPS.
To study this ability, it is necessary to find correlations between the variations of electrophysiological response of bird’s brain and flight navigation parameters to different combinations of M, G, and E fields constant and variable in time. To do this we have to use basically different schemes of experiments and different equipment.
2.2. The full-scale real flight and laboratory experiments proposed for 2020-2023 to verify SC hypothesis
To verify the ability of birds to sense PPS and to use it for navigation.
How to achieve the goal?
To prove the ability of birds to sense PPS, the special full-scale real flight and laboratory experiments will be performed to verify the effect of different combinations of M, G and E fields which can be constant and variable in time on the navigation ability of birds and on electrical characteristics of their brains and on the electrical activity of bird’s neuronal cell culture.
The results of experiments will be processed in order to find a correlationbetween the variations of electrophysiological responses of brain and neuronal cell culture to the effect of different combinations of M, G, and E fields constant and variable in time.
The correlation between the variations of navigation parameters of the flight of bird (course and altitude) under the influence of different combinations of M, G and E fields which can be constant and variable in time will also be studied.
The presence of the above correlationswill testify that birds feel something common that unites M, G, and E fields. According to the United Field Theory, M, G and E fields have the common nature underlying PPS.
Therefore, the presence of the above correlationswill confirm the ability of birdsto sense PPS.
Principal distinctions from previous experiments:
– real-time monitoring of navigation parameters and electrophysiological characteristics of pigeon’s brain in a real flight during the earthquake event;
– real-time monitoring of navigation parameters and electrophysiological characteristics of pigeon’s brain in a real flight during the moon tide event;
– real-time monitoring of navigation parameters and electrophysiological characteristics of pigeon’s brain in a real flight at the action of natural magnetic and gravity anomalies jointly with the action of various frequency electromagnetic artificial fields.
Generator of electromagnetic fields will be installed over one of the G and M anomalies to combine the electromagnetic fields of different frequencies with constant gravitational and magnetic fields of geophysical anomalies of the Earth;
– a pigeon will be equipped with miniature Deep Brain recording integrated with EEG telemetry system and GPS to study electrophysiological characteristics of the brain in a real flight;
– different geophysical test grounds in Ukraine, Indonesia and Canada will be used for new experiments.
2.2.1. The full-scale real flight experiments
A pigeon with good navigation abilities will be chosen for new experiments.
A pigeon will be equipped with a miniature “EEG and Deep Brain recording telemetry system” assembled with GPS. Equipment will be used for the real-time monitoring of brain’s electrical activity and variations in the flight course (Photo 1).
Pigeon’s release point will be chosen so that the pigeon will cross the gravity and magnetic anomalies on the way to loft.
In case of “earthquake” and “moon tide” experiments an earthquake or moon tide events willcatch a pigeon on the way to the home.
Ukraine geophysical test grounds with gravity and magnetic anomalies.
New experiments will be directed to the study of the effect of different combinations of M and G fields of the Earth on the navigation ability and electrical characteristics of pigeon’s brain under free-flight conditions and will be carried in Ukraine on some geophysical test sites with intersecting and non-intersecting strong gravity and magnetic anomalies.
Special experiments will be carried out using a generator of electromagnetic fields installed over one of the G and M anomalies to combine the electromagnetic fields of different frequencies with constant gravitational and magnetic fields of geophysical anomalies of the Earth (Fig.4).
Of particular interest will be the experiments studying the effects of different combinations of M and G anomalies in combination with artificial electromagnetic fields on the electrophysiological activity of pigeon’s brain under free-flight conditions.
It should be noted that a separate effect of the 1.4-Mz radio frequency electromagnetic field on bird’s navigation has already been studied .
On the way to the home, a pigeon will be affected by different combinations of artificial electromagnetic field combined with constant magnetic and gravitational fields of gravitational and magnetic anomalies.
a, b – combination of artificial electromagnetic field with overlapping constant gravitational (a) and magnetic (b) fields of anomaly.
c- combination of artificial electromagnetic field with constant “ring-shape” anomaly of gravitational field.
– generator of artificial electromagnetic field.
Canada (Bay of Fundy) moon tide test site
To study the effect of time-variable G field of the Earth on the navigation ability and electrical characteristics of animal’sbrain under free-flight conditions in the Bay of Fundy (Canada) during the moon tide event (Fig.5).
The scheme of experiment
On the way to the home (Fig.5, red line), a pigeon will be affected by time-variable gravity field created by the moon tide.
The gravitational field of the rising wall of water creates an additional horizontal component to the vertical Gravity Vector of the Earth which can lead to a deviation of the flight course from the direction to the home.
Indonesia (Sumatra) earthquake test site
In Sumatra (Indonesia), earthquakes occur weekly.
Characteristics of magnetic, gravitational and electrical fields of the Earth simultaneously and dramatically change in time during the earthquake event.
Experiments to study the effect of a simultaneously influence of time-variable M, G, and E fields of the Earth on the navigation ability and electrical characteristics of homing pigeon’s brains under free-flight conditions will be carried out in the seismic active area near Sumatra (Indonesia) during earthquake events.
According to the scheme of experiment, the earthquake catches a pigeon on the way to the home and a pigeon will be simultaneously affected by the time-variable gravitational, magnetic, and electrical fields of the Earth.
2.2.2. Laboratory experiments proposed for 2020-2023
The discovery of correlations between the electrophysiological responses of animal’s brain and neuronal cell culture to the influence of different combinations of M, G, and E fields constant and variable in time.
Experiments with animals
The scheme of experiment provides for the use of two animals that are very different in navigation abilities to move long distances.
In view of the big difference in the navigation abilities of birds migrating on great distances and rodents permanently living on a bounded territory, we will study SC navigation mechanism by comparing the differences in the electric response of brain of a pigeon and a mouse to the influence of different combinations of the artificially created variations of the gravitational, magnetic, and electrical fields. The electric response of brain will be studied in laboratory by measurements of EEG and deep-brain signals (Photo 2).
Experiment with a neuronal cell culture
SC hypothesis considers the possibility to study PPS on the scale of alive cells. This admission is based on the molecular mechanisms ofcell sensitivity to gravityand on the relationship of the gravity to PPS.
The modern biotechnology allows one to grow a network of neurons as a separate culture of cells and integrate it with MEMS (Micro Electrical and Mechanical System). The results of such integration is «neurohybrid» [16,17]. A neurohybrid can possesses some elements of the consciousnessand experiments demonstrate their abilities to control the movement of unmanned vehicle and drawing the pictures .
The use of neuronal cell culture and neurohybrids in experiments aimed at the study of the cellular and molecular mechanism of navigation of animalsbased on sensing of PPS and the discovery of the biosensor of physical properties of the space is of doubtless interest for physics and biology.
Experiments with a neuronal cell culture are of particular interest for the comprehension of cellular and molecular mechanisms of reception of the M, G and E fields as partial cases of the manifestation of PPS.
The scheme of experiment provides to study of the influence of artificial electromagnetic fields in various frequency regions in a combination with artificially created local variations of the gravitational, magnetic and electrical fields on the electrical characteristics of neuronal cell culture of pigeon and mouse.
The electrophysiological response of neuronal cell culture of pigeon’s and mouse brainwill be studied by using Multi Electrode Arrays hardware (MEA-CMOS-System) (Photo 3) .
Photo 3. Multi Electrode Arrays hardware (CMOS-MEA5000-System).
CMOS-MEA-System will be integrated with special Electro-Mechanical equipment to provide artificially created local variations of the gravitational, magnetic, and electrical fields in close proximity to neuronal cell culture and to the brain of experimental animals.
MEA-CMOS software will be used to find a correlation between the electrophysiological responses of neuronal cell culture and animal brain to the influence of different combinations of the gravitational, magnetic, and electrical fields constant and variable in time.
1. The discovery of correlations between the electrophysiological responses of brain and neuronal cell culture to the influence of different combinations of the gravitational, magnetic, and electrical fields constant and variable in time.
2. The discovery of correlation between the variations of navigation parameters of the flight of bird (course and altitude) under the influence of different combinations of magnetic, gravity and electric fields constant and variable in time.
3. Confirmation of SC hypothesis on the base of above correlations that prove the ability of birds to feel something common that unites gravitational, magnetic, and electrical fields.
According to the United Field Theory,gravitational, magnetic, and electrical fieldshave the common nature underlying PPS.
Therefore, the presence of the above correlations will confirm the ability of birds to sense PPS on the organism and cellular levels.
- Bernard Schutz. A First Course in General Relativity. Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik, Germany. 2nd Edition. May 2009.
- Gerold Gründler. The Casimir-Effect: No Manifestation of Zero-Point Energy. Astrophysical Institute Neunhof Circular se08011, February 2013. //arxiv.org/abs/1303.3790
- A. Di Piazza, C. M¨uller, K. Z. Hatsagortsyan,‡ and C. H. Keitel. Extremely high-intensity laser interactions with fundamental quantum systems Max-Planck-Institut f¨ur Kernphysik, Saupfercheckweg 1, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany. April 26, 2012.
- S.P. Gavrilov, D.M. Gitman, Radiative Processes in Graphene and Similar Nanostructures at Strong Electric Fields, Russian Phys. Journ. 59(11) (2017), 1870-1874.
- Albert Einstein’s Unified Field Theory: A New Interpretation. Sunrise Information Services. 544 Pages /Published: 15/03/2017
- Adam Mann. What Is String Theory? Live Science Contributor | March 20, 2019.
- Ming Ni, Wen Hao Tong, Deepak Choudhury, Nur Aida Abdul Rahim, Ciprian Iliescu, Hanry Yu. Cell Culture on MEMS Platforms: A Review. Int J Mol Sci. 2009 Dec; 10(12): 5411–5441.
- Antoine Tilloy. Binding Quantum Matter and Space-Time, Without Romanticism. Foundations of Physics. December 2018, Volume 48, Issue 12, pp 1753–1769.
- Phillip F. Schewe. Gravity at Small Scales Remains a Mystery. October 13, 2010. www.livescience.com/8789-gravity-small-scales-remains-mystery.html
- Kanevskyi V.A., Sitnik K.M., Sheliag-Sosonko J.P., Melnikov D.I., Dyma A.G., Busely B.I., Moldavan M.G., Golovushkin M.I. The use of biotelemetry in geophysical remote sensing research [in Russian]. Reportsof the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. 1985, v.282, N2, p.291-294. www.mathnet.ru/links/00afed02517a29de42befb4b089da996/dan47004.pdf
- Blaser N, Guskov SI, Meskenaite V, Kanevskyi VA, Lipp H-P (2013) Altered Orientation and Flight Paths of Pigeons Reared on Gravity Anomalies: A GPS Tracking Study. PLoS ONE 8(10): e77102.
- Nicole Blaser, Sergei I. Guskov, Vladimir A. Entin, David P. Wolfer, Valeryi A. Kanevskyi and Hans-Peter Lipp. Gravity anomalies without geomagnetic disturbances interfere with pigeon homing – a GPS tracking study.
- Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd | The Journal of Experimental Biology (2014) 217, 4057-4067, doi:10.1242/jeb.108670
- Valerii A. Kanevskyi.Gravity and bird navigation.RIN13, Poster, 13 APRIL,2013. http://animalnav.org/989/.
- Mark P. Haugan, C. Lammerzahl. Principles of Equivalence: Their Role in Gravitation Physics and Experiments That Test Them. Conference paper, 02 February 2001
- Hamish G. Hiscock, Henrik Mouritsen, David E. Manolopoulos, and P.J. Hore. Disruption of Magnetic Compass Orientation in Migratory Birds by Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields. Biophysical Journal, Volume 113.
- Reger B. D., Fleming K. M., Sanguineti V. et al. Connecting brains to robots: The development of a hybrid system for the study of learning in neural tissues. Artif. Life. 2000. V. 6. P. 307–324
- Shahaf G., Marom S. Learning in Networks of Cortical Neurons. J. Neurosci. 2001. Т. 21. № 22. С. 8782–8788.
- Jude Baby George, Grace Mathew Abraham, Bharadwaj Amrutur. Robot navigation using neuro-electronic hybrid systems. 2015 28th International Conference on VLSI Design and 2015 14th International Conference on Embedded Systems.
- Eiko Matsuda, Takeshi Mita, Julien Hubert, Douglas Bakkum, Urs Frey, Andreas Hierlemann, Hirokazu Takahashi, and Takashi Ikegami. Analysis of neuronal cells of dissociated primary culture on high-density CMOS electrode array. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2013; 2013: 1045–1048.doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2013.6609683.