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Salmon use magnetic field based "internal GPS" to find their way

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posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 03:30 PM
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GPS in Salmon?



Much like turtle hatchlings, a recent discovery has revealed that salmon also utilize an internal map based on the Earth's magnetic fields to find their way home. But unlike birds, which use these magnetic fields like a compass, a salmon uses it to triangulate exactly where it is and which direction it needs to being going. And also unlike migratory birds, this behavior is not learnt from their parents. So how can they do this? Scientists claim that this internal GPS is passed down genetically. Interesting...

Salmon appear to inherit this map as genetic hand-me-downs from their parents: Young fish that were raised in captivity still responded as expected to artificial magnetic fields. “If they’re using magnetic fields to figure out where they are, when they’re in a different magnetic field, they should change their swimming direction,” says Nathan Putman, a researcher at Oregon State University (O.S.U.) and lead author of the study. And indeed, the fish “go in different directions in different magnetic fields,” he says.


What's even more interesting is that they're not so sure how they perceive these maps:


Whereas the study showed that salmon inherit some innate maps, it is not clear exactly how the animals perceive them. “We can’t say what a fish or a turtle is picturing,” Putman says. What the scientists are stuck with, he says, is looking at the behavior of the salmon and asking how they behave. “It’s behaving like it has some information about where it is,” he says, meaning that it has some sort of internal map based just on the magnetic field.


And then:


James Gould, an evolutionary biologist at Princeton University who was not involved in the study, wrote in a commentary on the paper that the fish may not have a map like the kind we might imagine, but instead something akin to an Excel spreadsheet, with “lists of magnetic coordinates with the seasonally appropriate directional responses filled in.” That is, the fish may simply perceive the magnetic field at a given location and, like a GPS, have essentially a voice command in its head that tells it where to swim. Putman thinks this is likely the case for the salmon. “If I had to bet, I would say that is probably what’s happening,” he says.


A voice or picture in its head guiding it where to go?
This makes me wonder about some things:

* Is it conceivable that other animals have minds that they can visualize the information they are receiving externally and internally?

* How is it that external information regarding specific directions based on magnetic fields can be encoded into genetic material to be passed on and then recalled for later use? Only to perhaps be expanded on by later generations?

* Is it beyond the realm of possibility that consciousness plays a role in all of this?

Regardless, it seems nature spared no expense in even the littlest of creatures.

ETA: link to article
www.scientificamerican.com...
edit on 7-2-2014 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 03:52 PM
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reply to post by PhotonEffect
 


Is this the product of evolution or was it intelligently installed?



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 03:53 PM
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reply to post by ItCameFromOuterSpace
 


Does this mean you could hold a giant magnet underwater and attract the salmon? Good fishing technique....Magnet and a net....New form of salmon fishing...



posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 05:12 PM
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ItCameFromOuterSpace
reply to post by PhotonEffect
 


Is this the product of evolution or was it intelligently installed?


Maybe it's a product of "intelligent evolution"?


edit on 7-2-2014 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)



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