Dolphins have magnetic rocks in their heads

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Have you ever heard of magnetite? Magnetite is a naturally occurring mineral that reacts to magnetic fields.  Scientists believe that many animals may have small amounts of magnetite in their brains, allowing them to sense magnetic fields produced by the earth. Animals like bats and birds (especially pigeons) are thought to navigate large distances without using any clues as to where they are other than the presence and shape of magnetic fields which they can sense using the magnetite in their brains. Whales and dolphins too are thought to have small amounts of magnetite in their brains allowing them to navigate enormous distances across the oceans. Scientists also suspect that some whales and dolphins may strand when the earth’s magnetic fields fluctuate beyond their normal position. Navigating by the magnetic fields they have used their entire lives, whales and dolphins may think that they are in the open ocean, but in reality they are dangerously close to shore. It would be a lot like trying to navigate your living room with a blindfold on after someone had moved around all of your furniture. Even humans have a small amount of magnetite in their brains, so the next time you trip over your shoelaces, you can blame it on fluctuating magnetic fields…

Magnetite

 

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