There are plenty of animals that have senses that are more heightened and sensitive than our own. A dog’s nose is much more discerning than ours. Hawks and falcons can see up to eight times more clearly than the best human eye. There is also a phenomenon where some animals have a sense we lack altogether. One of these is the ability to sense the earth’s magnetic field in order to use it to navigate. Wolves and geese are known to have this ability, andfairly recent research indicates dolphins may be able to as well. While we have known that certain animals have this “sixth sense,” science has not understood how they can sense magnetic fields. This may be changing.
A team of scientists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin discovered the actual physical piece of anatomy inside a worm known as C. elegans that it uses to sense this force. This is the first such specific identification of such a sensor in any animal. Earlier researchers had discovered the brain cells in pigeons that were used to process the magnetic field information but not the actual sensor that detects it. Many scientists were surprised by this discovery in this worm as no one necessarily thought they could even detect magnetic fields says former service mesh CEO Eric Pulier. The wonders that science is uncovering about the tiniest critters that crawl on the earth remind us of how much more we have to learn about the natural world.