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01/06/2005

Resonance Effects Indicate a Radical-Pair Mechanism for Avian Magnetic Compass

Thorsten Ritz, Peter Thalau, John B. Phillips, Roswitha Wiltschko and Wolfgang Wiltschko, Nature 429, pp. 177-180, May 2004


Migratory birds are known to use the geomagnetic field as a source of compass information. There are two competing hypotheses for the primary process underlying the avian magnetic compass, one involving magnetite, the other a magnetically sensitive chemical reaction. This paper shows that oscillating magnetic fields disrupt the magnetic orientation behaviour of migratory birds.

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