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Gravity anomalies without geomagnetic disturbances interfere with pigeon homing - a GPS tracking study


Blaser, Nicole; Guskov, Sergei I; Entin, Vladimir A; Wolfer, David P; Kanevskyi, Valeryi A; Lipp, Hans-Peter (2014). Gravity anomalies without geomagnetic disturbances interfere with pigeon homing - a GPS tracking study. Journal of Experimental Biology, 217(Pt 22):4057-4067.

Abstract

The gravity vector theory postulates that birds determine their position to set a home course by comparing the memorized gravity vector at the home loft with the local gravity vector at the release site, and that they should adjust their flight course to the gravity anomalies encountered. As gravity anomalies are often intermingled with geomagnetic anomalies, we released experienced pigeons from the center of a strong circular gravity anomaly (25 km diameter) not associated with magnetic anomalies and from a geophysical control site, equidistant from the home loft (91 km). After crossing the border zone of the anomaly--expected to be most critical for pigeon navigation--they dispersed significantly more than control birds, except for those having met a gravity anomaly en route. These data increase the credibility of the gravity vector hypothesis.

The gravity vector theory postulates that birds determine their position to set a home course by comparing the memorized gravity vector at the home loft with the local gravity vector at the release site, and that they should adjust their flight course to the gravity anomalies encountered. As gravity anomalies are often intermingled with geomagnetic anomalies, we released experienced pigeons from the center of a strong circular gravity anomaly (25 km diameter) not associated with magnetic anomalies and from a geophysical control site, equidistant from the home loft (91 km). After crossing the border zone of the anomaly--expected to be most critical for pigeon navigation--they dispersed significantly more than control birds, except for those having met a gravity anomaly en route. These data increase the credibility of the gravity vector hypothesis.

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8 citations in Web of Science®
7 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:15 November 2014
Deposited On:25 Feb 2015 11:37
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:02
Publisher:Company of Biologists
ISSN:0022-0949
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.108670
PubMed ID:25392461
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-108167

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