Birds may be able to fly vast distances without getting lost because of sensors in their beaks, according to a study on Wednesday.
German scientists said they found tiny iron oxide crystals in the skin lining of the upper beak of homing pigeons, laid out in a three-dimensional pattern that might help the birds to read the earth's magnetic field.
"The study suggests that the birds sense the magnetic field independent of their motion and posture and thus can identify their geographical position," publisher Springer said of the report in the journal Naturwissenschaften.
Scientists have long wondered how birds find their way, often migrating over thousands of miles to find the same tree.
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