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Gathering Data

G355/0231

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Credit

JIM AMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JIM AMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

A scientist studies tracks left by sparrows in cones as part of an experiment concerning the bird's sense of direction. Sparrows were placed in a neutral magnetic field to learn if they use the Earth's magnetic field to calibrate their star compass. The birds were placed in cones with ink pads at the bottom. When the birds attempted to exit the cones, they left inky trails, revealing their desired course. The results showed that sparrows actually use the polar star rather than the Earth's magnetic field.

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