Add dolphins to the list of magnetosensitive animals. Dolphins are indeed sensitive to magnetic stimuli, as they behave differently when swimming near magnetized objects.
Magnetoreception implies the ability to perceive a magnetic field. It is supposed to play an important role in how some land and aquatic species orientate and navigate themselves. Some observations of the migration routes of free-ranging cetaceans, such as whales, dolphins and porpoises, and their stranding sites suggested that they may also be sensitive to geomagnetic fields.
Researchers watched the animals’ spontaneous reaction to a barrel containing a strongly magnetized block or a demagnetized one. Except from this characteristic, the blocks were identical in form and density.
The analyses revealed that the dolphins approached the barrel much faster when it contained a strongly magnetized block than when it contained a similar not magnetized one. However, the dolphins did not interact with both types of barrels differently. They may therefore have been more intrigued than physically drawn to the barrel with the magnetized block.
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