Tiny Animal Hairs Could Act As Sensitive Compass Needles; Statistical Mechanics Shows That Some Animals May Be Able to Perceive Earth’s Magnetic Field with Bundles of Microscopic Hairs in Their Inner Ears

The exact mechanisms animals use to sense the direction of Earth’s magnetic field have long remained a mystery. One leading theory suggests that this ability is tied to bundles of microscopic hair cells in the inner ears. Through new research published on August 26, 2022 in the European Physical Journal Special Topics (EPJ ST), Kirill Kavokin, PhD, at St. Petersburg State University, Russia, uses statistical analysis to show that just around 100 of these hair cells could act as effective biological compass needles, allowing animals to accurately sense the magnetic field surrounding them. The EPJ ST article is titled “Compass in the Ear: Can Animals Sense Magnetic Fields with Hair Cells?”
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