Lost? Look for a herd of cows. They will point you north.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Photo Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated PressBelow is probably the most practical thing you will read today.

Researchers in Germany and the Czech Republic have found that deer and cows have an innate magnetic sense, as they tend to align themselves with the Earth's magnetic field lines when grazing or resting. That is, they generally faces north or south.

In a study that was released this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, researchers looked at Google Earth satellite photos and counted 8,510 cattle in 308 pastures around the world. They also collected data on nearly 3,000 deer in 225 locations in the Czech Republic.

Researchers did acknowledge that wind and sunlight have an effect on the directions on cattle position but they were able to discount it in the study because the animal count was so high and in so many varied locations across the earth.

So, what did we learn from this? If you find yourself lost, find a herd of cows then walk over to the little hill and knock on the farmer’s door for a ride into town. Problem solved.

More info: cbc.ca

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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