Dolphins and Bats: Superpower

Dolphins and bats don’t have much in common, but they share a superpower: Both hunt their prey by emitting high-pitched sounds and listening for the echoes. Now, a study shows that this ability arose independently in each group of mammals from the same genetic mutations.

For more reading follow this link:

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Cuckoo Migration, a theory 2021

In January 2021 I had the opportunity to have another test of my theory that migratory animals (fledgling cuckoos) use an innate sense of direction to find their way to their destination.

I did a zoom presentation to some of the best dowsers in Britain and asked them to track the routes followed by fledgling cuckoos to their wintering grounds in Africa, using a map.  We all know that the fledgling cuckoos launch themselves into the air alone and fly to their wintering ground in Central Africa.  There are several routes but all have changes of direction and stops to “re-fuel” in order to complete their journeys.  But how do you inherit a route and destination like this?

Astonishingly many of the group were able to do dowse cuckoo routes even when I did not tell them where the cuckoos were going to.  What I wanted to do is see if the dowsers could  tune into a fledgling cuckoo and travel with them to their destination.  

This pre-supposes that the fledgling cuckoos are following a dowsable paths (a route that they have inherited and can feel).  There is ample evidence that all animals can sense their way but, of course, they always access as many other cues as they can pick up to help them on their way: Navigation is difficult!

My contention is that when they leave the nest, the fledgling cuckoo flies around until they plug into the Universal Information Field which tells them where to  go.

I am a member of RIN (the Royal Institute of Navigation) who send me regular updates on all the the relevant Academic work being done in Navigation. At the moment most of the people working on Animal Navigation are biologists and have not great knowledge of Physics and Quantum Mechanics.  I think that dowsers have unknowingly been accessing Quantum effects for ever

The theory that I am struggling to test is that migratory animals inherit a sense of direction to go to their breeding grounds and return, and when to set out for their journeys too. When a new place is found then over time we see the migratory destinations move from old locations to new ones.  This fits perfectly with dowsing theories that old pathways are erased and new ones built up by the passing of many individuals.

Recently we have seen a lot of academic research on mathematics, recently there as an article in the New Scientist New Scientist 2 May:  “Here, There everywhere?  Our best mathematical model of consciousness might imply everything has got it” The dowsing fraternity have always talked about the Universal Information Field, which must be different words for  the same thing.  Quantum Mechanics talks about an universal information database that records everything and consciousness seems to fit this model.  In all the quantum work there is no sense of time.  Passed time only tells us that all the possible outcomes that existed have coalesced into one outcome in the universe in which we operate.

The difficulty is that Dowsing is an instinct, a moment , when we are allowed into the Universal database.  It never works in the presence of sceptic, especially those working  in Classic Science so they are  not able to compute dowsing skills and all the analytical learning, which classic science demands, makes you unable to dowse because analysis has crowded out, the surprise of intuition.

My take on this situation is that dowsers can and regularly do access the the universal consciousness (information field) in just the quirky way that Quantum Mechanics works to make a mockery of our certainties in classic Science.

My contention is that dowsers have since eternity, found a way to access the data we need.  It is manifest in Navigation and in my opinion is everywhere and with the rise rise of our understanding of our quantum world,  we will have proof that we and every animal can plug in to the Universal Information Field to navigate by.  Some Aborigines can still  do it but we have mostly lost the art.

More on Cuckoo Migration here.

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Investigating factors influencing initial orientation in nocturnally fledging seabirds

Please note that Tom Guildford is a very important Animal Navigation professor working at Oxford University.  Manx Shearwaters have been extensively studied as they have amazing navigational skills but do not seems to rely on magnetism.

Richard Nissen

fledgling seabirds

This is a summary of a paper protected by copyright: 
Syposz, M., Padget, O., Wynn, J., Gillies, N., Fayet, A. L. & Guilford, T. 2020
An assay to investigate factors influencing initial orientation in nocturnally fledging seabirds. Journal of Avian Biology online early. doi: 10.1111/jav.02613. Syposz1 2020 

The first solitary migration of juvenile birds is difficult to study because of a low juvenile survival rates and sometimes long delays in return to the breeding grounds. Consequently, little is known about this crucial life event for many bird species, in particular the sensory guidance mechanisms facilitating the first migratory journey. Initial orientation during the first migration is a key measure to investigate these mechanisms.

Here, we developed an assay to measure initial orientation as flight direction upon first take-off in nocturnally fledging juvenile seabirds. We dorsally deployed a coloured LED on juvenile birds to allow researchers to observe the vanishing bearings of individuals as they flew out to sea.

Additionally, we co-deployed either a small Neodymium magnet or glass bead (control) on top of the bird’s head to investigate the use of magnetoreception, previously unexplored in this early life stage.

We used this assay to observe the first flight of Manx shearwaters (Puffinus puffinus) and found that they did not orient towards their wintering ground straight after taking off. Further, we did not find an effect of the magnetic treatment on juveniles’ flight direction, though whether this is due to the birds not using magnetoreception, other salient cues being available or a lack of motivation to orient to the migratory beeline is unclear.

We were, however, able to identify wind direction and topography as drivers of first flight direction in Manx shearwaters, which fledged with wind component between a crosswind and a tailwind and directed their maiden flight towards the sea and away from the land.

This novel assay will facilitate the study of the maiden flight of nocturnally fledging birds and will help advance the study of sensory guidance mechanisms underpinning migratory orientation in a wide range of taxa, including species which are traditionally challenging to study.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Magnetoreception – the ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field

David Keays is one of the mega stars of animal navigation research and has spent a life time trying to work out how magnetism might work.

Here is a summary of his latest work:

Magnetoreception is the ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field, which is used for orientation and navigation.

Behavioural experiments have shown that it is employed by many species across all vertebrate classes; however, our understanding of how magnetic information is processed and integrated within the central nervous system is limited.

In this Commentary, we review the progress in birds and rodents, highlighting the role of the vestibular and trigeminal systems as well as that of the hippocampus. We reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the methodologies currently at our disposal, the utility of emerging technologies and identify questions that we feel are critical for the advancement of the field.

We expect that magnetic circuits are likely to share anatomical motifs with other senses, which culminates in the formation of spatial maps in telencephalic areas of the brain. Specifically, we predict the existence of spatial cells that encode defined components of the Earth’s magnetic field.

Malkemper, E. P., Nimpf, S., Nordmann, G. C. & Keays, D. A. 2020 Neuronal circuits and the magnetic sense: central questions. The Journal of Experimental Biology223, jeb232371. doi: 10.1242/jeb.232371. Malkemper3 2020 

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Eyes are essential for magnetoreception in a mammal

Here is another interesting paper:

Mole-rat lives underground and basically cannot see and is often studied to understand how they navigate.

Caspar, K. R., Moldenhauer, K., Moritz, R. E., Němec, P., Malkemper, E. P. & Begall, S. 2020 Eyes are essential for magnetoreception in a mammal. Journal of The Royal Society Interface17, 20200513. doi: doi:10.1098/rsif.2020.0513. Caspar2 2020 

Several groups of mammals use the Earth’s magnetic field for orientation, but their magnetosensory organ remains unknown.

The Ansell’s mole-rat (Fukomys anselli, Bathyergidae, Rodentia) is a microphthalmic subterranean rodent with innate magnetic orientation behaviour.

Previous studies on this species proposed that its magnetoreceptors are located in the eye. To test this hypothesis, we assessed magnetic orientation in mole-rats after the surgical removal of their eyes compared to untreated controls. Initially, we demonstrate that this enucleation does not lead to changes in routine behaviours, including locomotion, feeding and socialising.

We then studied magnetic compass orientation by employing a well-established nest-building assay under four magnetic field alignments. In line with previous studies, control animals exhibited a significant preference to build nests in magnetic southeast.

By contrast, enucleated mole-rats built nests in random magnetic orientations, suggesting an impairment of their magnetic sense.

The results provide robust support for the hypothesis that mole-rats perceive magnetic fields with their minute eyes, probably relying on magnetite-based receptors in the cornea.

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Memories Can Be Injected and Survive Amputation and Metamorphosis

There has always been huge uncertainty as to how migrating animals learn where to go.  The cuckoo is a perfect example, as the newly hatched birds must travel from Europe to The Congo Basin for the winter, but how do they know the way (as their parents departed sometime before and they travel on their own)?  The route is not a straight one and they must stop as various places on the way to “refuel” (eat hairy caterpillars) in order to be able to cross the Sahara.

Here is an explanation:

Richard Nissen

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The “V” formation of flying geese

A recent piece of work by a team lead by A. . Kölzsch from Germany tracked a family of Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) 

This goose is a great migrator and winters (December to February) in Western Europe where the researchers were helped by colleagues in the Netherlands for this study.  The geese migrate in the Spring to the High Artic where they breed from June. Like other species the autumn route is not the same as the spring migration.

The study wanted to research the “V” formation flying on these geese.  The accepted theory is that they use this formation as the slip stream of birds flying in front aid birds flying behind.  It has been shown that the lead birds take turns to lead.   However, in this piece of work they show that in family groups (they found a family composed of a father, mother and two young),  they discovered that the family fly in formation with the mother and father taking turns to lead the family group.

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