A new study uncovers the magnet sensing capability of dolphins. According to the researchers these marine creatures may possess the ability of magnetoreception (the capability of perceiving a magnetic field) and get excited towards it.
The scientists in France observed the aquatic species behaving differently while swimming near magnetised objects.
Dorothee Kremers and her colleagues at Ethos unit of the Universite de Rennes in France set out to study the behaviour of six bottlenose dolphins in the delphinarium of Planete Sauvage (“Wild Planet”) in Port-Saint-Pere in France towards a series of magnetized objects.
They also placed a completely identical barrel containing a demagnetized block and did the same.
They found the dolphins approaching more aggressively towards semi-submerged barrels emitting a magnetic field.
“Dolphins are able to discriminate between objects based on their magnetic properties, which is a prerequisite for magnetoreception-based navigation,” said Kremers.
“Our results provide new, experimentally obtained evidence that cetaceans have a magnetic sense, and should therefore be added to the list of magnetosensitive species.”
The man in charge of the job to place the barrels in the pools was totally unaware regarding the fact whether it was magnetised or not. The same thing applied on the one who analysed the videos showing the dolphins reactions to the barrels.
Though clearly excited by the magnetic signal, they were not found acting differently with both the magnetized and magnetized barrels, suggesting the dolphins may not be attracted the magnet signal so much as interfered by it.
The study was published in Springer’s journal Naturwissenschaften – The Science of Nature.