It's long been known that birds have a sense for the Earth's magnetic field and can use it to aid in navigating their long migratory routes across the continents, but researchers at Oxford University and the National University of Singapore think their innate navigation tools are even cooler than once supposed. A new study shows that birds may actually see that magnetic field. In other words, birds have a natural head-up display akin to that used in fighter jets and other aircraft that overlays information on their fields of vision.
That's the kind of evolutionary trick that's truly amazing. As worded in an Oxford press release: "According to the new model, when a photon of light from the Sun is absorbed by a special molecule in the bird's eye, it can cause an electron to be kicked from its normal state into an alternative location a few nanometres away. Until the electron eventually relaxes back, it creates an 'electric dipole field' which can augment the bird's vision - for example altering colours or brightness."
There are many of these molecules with many orientations spread throughout the eye, the researchers presume, so as the bird moves its head the patterns in its field of vision shift, offering crucial information about the Earth's magnetic field and navigational direction.
The researchers also note that while this sounds like some kind of higher vision mechanism, it's really the kind of thing that could evolve quite easily. It doesn't require the development of some new sensory organ but rather just piggybacks on normal vision. If some birds developed this trait via genetic mutation or some other avenue, it would give them a distinct evolutionary advantage over their peers when it comes to migration. And it wouldn't take long, in evolutionary terms, for something like this to manifest itself across populations.
Further study is of course needed to verify if this model for avian vision is correct. Regardless, the fact that it might be is pretty cool to think about.
PLLLLLEEEEEEEAASE don't give me this evolution junk, is it not obvious that this was created and designed? I mean if it has taken us 'super brain' humans this long to figure out how a bird navigates between two points on a map, does it not appear obvious that it could not have just 'happened', simple as that? If us humans can't figure out how it works, much less make it happen ourselves, we have no reason whatsoever to think that it came about in any other way than intelligent design by a being MUCH more intelligent than us.
If you think everything you don't understand was made by some mystery being you a. have never seen b. can't explain who created it c. have no evidence of it's actual existence and d. know nothing about except that they had nothing better to do after creating the entire universe, the sun, photons, electrons, magnetic fields, birds, and scientists that it manipulated the molecules in birds' eyes expertly to give them a distinct advantage that they would never need anyway because evolution is not real, maybe you should try the Creation Museum instead of PopSci.
who says we can't make it happen ourselves? I bet you can't explain how your computer works. But the people who created them can does that make them god? nope their HUMAN!.... and please leave this community close minded fools like you aren't welcome. (i'm not saying anyone who believes in god is close minded fools just those who think we can't try to understand the universe are.)
Evolution is fact. It's been proven to be correct, over and over again for the past 150 years. Get over it already.
To those religious creationists visiting these pages and commenting--get a life.
A-WALL, maybe there is a god who created physics knowing fully well that life would evolve. Maybe not. Nobody knows that. Science is about making sense of what we are capable of knowing. The 'mechanics' of HOW evolution happened, however is scientific fact. The "need" for a God is only experienced by those who are incapable of understanding the science, such as yourself apparently.
Evolution is not a fact. Evolution is brought about through operational science, meaning it takes observations and ASSUMPTIONS to come to a conclusion of how it COULD have worked. Operational science conclusions are not fact because there are assumptions built into them.
Corrction, Historical science, not operational.
while the mechanics may be "fact", evolution in and of itself remains not fact, but theory. Hence, the "Theory" of evolution. please note the distinction because scientific LAW and scientific THEORY.
eesh - because = between ^.^
On Earth we have lots of things that tweak with the wild life DNA, including humans too, one evolution to create this ability, two extra terrestrials from outer space as per the Sumerian culture and Egyptians. Evolutions has scientific basis and extra terrestrial from outer space and their influence on the Earths wild life is a historical fact from many different cultures.
Even today we humans very much today tweak with wild life DNA. All these things have had an effect on Earths wild life.
I wish I had an heads up display in my eyes like this article suggest for these birds. It reads kind of cool!
Science sees no further than what it can sense, i.e. facts.
Religion sees beyond the senses, i.e. faith.
Scientific laws describe scientific phenomena. Theories explain phenomena.
There is a theory of evolution because it explains how, when, why and where life as we know it today came about, not because we lack information. Scientific theories never become laws, because they have two different purposes.
Can we please put the "it's just a theory" BS to bed?
What a beautiful view and really the information posted was really knowledgeable. I have heard something like this in my school.
Creationists coming to Pop-sci to talk about intelligent design. That's pretty funny.