There’s always debate about how much dogs use their noses versus their vision to orient themselves and find their way. A new study provides evidence that an entirely different mechanism may allow dogs to return to their starting point: magnetoreception, or the ability to sense the Earth’s magnetic field and use it as a compass.

It’s easy to be amazed at what a dog can smell—Covid-19, cancer, fear, time, their owner’s odor—but at least olfaction is a sense we understand. However weak our human sense of smell may be in comparison to our dog’s, we still have the ability to use our noses to detect chemical odors.

The idea of being able to sense the Earth’s magnetic field is almost as incredible to me as the ability of Haley Joel Osment’s character in the movie The Sixth Sense to see dead people. I just can’t relate to it. Yet, dogs are not the only animals with this…

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