Cows Have Magnetic Sense
A recent study demonstrated that cows tend to orient themselves North-South, telling researchers that - like bees, whales, and certain strains of bacteria - cows have an internal compass which directs them to magnetic North. This potentially inconsequential fact may lead to the discovery of a compass-like ability in other large mammals, perhaps even humans.
Studying photographs of 8,510 cattle in 308 herds from around the world, zoologists Sabine Begall and Hynek Burda of the University of Duisburg-Essen and their colleagues found that two out of every three animals in the pictures were oriented in a direction roughly pointing to magnetic north.
The resolution of the images was not sufficient to tell which ends of the cows were pointing north, however.
Asked whether he had ever observed such behavior in cows, dairy farmer Rob Fletcher of Tulare, Calif., said, "Absolutely not." But, he added, "I don't spend a lot of time worrying about stuff like that."