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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 02:47 AM
Original message
Quantum Compass for Birds
http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2011/01/10/quant...

Quantum Compass for Birds
Robins may use strange physics to migrate
Posted: January 10, 2011
By Marissa Cevallos, Science News

A quantum effect known as entanglement may be part of the compass that birds use to sense Earths magnetic field, researchers report in an upcoming Physical Review Letters.

Critters from bacteria to mole rats use tiny variations in the Earths magnetic field to navigate, but exactly how they sense the magnetism is a mystery. One idea is that magnetic fields disrupt pairs of entangled electrons in a light-sensitive protein in the retina. In quantum entanglement, particles are linked to each other so that one always knows instantly what the other is doing, even if they get separated.

In the new research, physicists at the University of Oxford and the National University of Singapore calculated that quantum entanglement in a birds eye could last more than 100 microsecondslonger than the 80 microseconds achieved in physicists experiments at temperatures just above absolute zero, says Elisabeth Rieper, a physicist at the National University of Singapore. That would be a surprising feat for a bird warbling at room temperature, which people thought was too hot to see quantum effects.

<snip>

The new prediction interprets data from earlier experiments that hinted at a quantum basis for magnetic navigation in migrating birds. In 2006, researchers in Frankfurt, Germany, netted 12 European robins migrating from Scandinavia. Researchers locked the robins in a wooden room and applied small magnetic fields tuned to a frequency that would disturb entangled electrons, if the birds indeed relied on entanglement to navigate.

<snip>

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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 03:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. Birds follow magnetic lines.. and the earth's magnetic poles are shifting...
Maybe this explains why birds are falling out of the sky?

--------------------------------------------
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2011/jan/05/060831/shift-of... -/

Shift of Earth's magnetic north pole affects Tampa airport



TAMPA - Scientists say the magnetic north pole is moving toward Russia and the fallout has reached -- of all places -- Tampa International Airport


The airport has closed its primary runway until Jan. 13 to repaint the numeric designators at each end and change taxiway signage to account for the shift in location of the Earth's magnetic north pole.

The closure of the west parallel runway will result in more activity on the east parallel runway and more noise for residential areas of South Tampa.

The busiest runway will be re-designated 19R/1L on aviation charts. It's been 18R/36L, indicating its alignment along the 180-degree approach from the north and the 360-degree approach from the south
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 05:20 AM
Response to Original message
2. So,
plants do it (quantum computation in photosynthesis), birds do it...

but we humans don't. Our consciousness has nothing to do with 'quantum mind' woo woo, we are strictly nothing but processes of classical physics in neural networks. Least evolved of all sentient beings... :)
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crikkett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. I blame God, who confused our speech after we tried to build the tower of Babel
i think that's how the story goes
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Tower of Bable
blame Babel bable in deepest gratitude, for Thou Shalt Not Hate Thyself... :)
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silverweb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. +1000
'Tis a wonderment, is it not?

My vote's with The Woo -- the science we don't yet understand (and some refuse to even acknowledge as possible). :)

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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 06:59 AM
Response to Original message
3. I also read a recent article about studies suggesting that bees also have something
that might be called a quantum compass (though the article did not use that metaphor).
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-11 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
7. Oh great, more quantum junk science. The hypothesis is not falsifiable.
All speculation, completely unfalsifiable. Therefore, NOT SCIENCE.

I believe the reality is much less spooky, many creatures have magnetite particles in their brains.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:47 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Even if there is some QM involved...
...what bugs me is the way some people act as if anything that validates "quantum" anything thus validates "quantum" everything, as if "bird uses quantum effect for navigation" proves "I can create my own reality with my mind and radiate thoughts of purple auras to produce world peace!".
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tama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-21-11 09:18 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Rather
than definite proof, just leaving also that door open (as a hypothesis worth trying and no harm done) is good enough. Who wouldn't mind world peace? ;)

Would a mere 'not excluding even that possibility' bug thee less?
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DetlefK Donating Member (449 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-11 05:44 AM
Response to Original message
8. Found article on this: Cryptochrome in the eye and magnetite in the beak
"Physik Journal", monthly journal of the German Physics Society (DPG)
Article by Dr. Ilia A. Solov'yov, Prof. Dr. Walter Greiner (both from Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, Frankfurt) and Prof. Dr. Klaus Schulten (Department of Physics, University of Illinois and Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology)

Cryptochrome-mechanism:
It's about a chemical reaction between the chromophor Flavin Adenine Dinucleotide (FAD) and a Tryptophan amino acid (Trp324, Trp377 or Trp400).
Blue light excites the FAD, which gets an electron from Trp, which turns it into a radical.
Now here's the deal: Without magnetic field Singulett- and Triplett-states are mixed (1:3). But with magnetic field, the Zeeman-effect shifts the energy-levels of the states T+1 and T-1. Only S and T0 intermix (1:1).
Wigners selection principle determines which chemical reactions are possible, so the shift from 3:1 to 1:1 leads to different ratios of chemical products.

magnetite-mechanism:
A tiny spheric magnetite-particle is stifly attached to the cell membrane of neurons. Depending on the magnetic field, different forces force the magnetite in either direction, mechanicaly opening and closing ion channels in the membrane, like valves. Open valve: signal. Closed valve: no signal.


Calculations suggest that the sensor in the eye is suited for long-range navigation (-> amplitude) and the one in the beak is suited for short-range navigation (-> gradient).
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arachadillo Donating Member (61 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
10. Bird Navigation
"A quantum effect known as entanglement may be part of the compass that birds use to sense Earths magnetic field, researchers report in an upcoming Physical Review Letters.

Critters from bacteria to mole rats use tiny variations in the Earths magnetic field to navigate, but exactly how they sense the magnetism is a mystery. One idea is that magnetic fields disrupt pairs of entangled electrons in a light-sensitive protein in the retina. In quantum entanglement, particles are linked to each other so that one always knows instantly what the other is doing, even if they get separated."

"Scientists say the magnetic north pole is moving toward Russia and the fallout has reached -- of all places -- Tampa International Airport.

The airport has closed its primary runway until Jan. 13 to repaint the numeric designators at each end and change taxiway signage to account for the shift in location of the Earth's magnetic north pole."

"Cryptochrome-mechanism:
It's about a chemical reaction between the chromophor Flavin Adenine Dinucleotide (FAD) and a Tryptophan amino acid (Trp324, Trp377 or Trp400).
Blue light excites the FAD, which gets an electron from Trp, which turns it into a radical.
Now here's the deal: Without magnetic field Singulett- and Triplett-states are mixed (1:3). But with magnetic field, the Zeeman-effect shifts the energy-levels of the states T+1 and T-1. Only S and T0 intermix (1:1).
Wigners selection principle determines which chemical reactions are possible, so the shift from 3:1 to 1:1 leads to different ratios of chemical products.

magnetite-mechanism:
A tiny spheric magnetite-particle is stifly attached to the cell membrane of neurons. Depending on the magnetic field, different forces force the magnetite in either direction, mechanicaly opening and closing ion channels in the membrane, like valves. Open valve: signal. Closed valve: no signal."

I've read these and other studies. I'm wondering about any studies that look at long term natural variations in the magnetic field and how they correlate with long term variations in bird migration patterns, i.e., if there are three major U.S. flyways, have the dimensions of those flyways changed with changes in the magnetic fields? Or, does the presence of coastlines (in the case of the eastern and western flyways) or the presence of a large river system (the Mississippi) provide sufficient navigation tools for migratory behavior over the long term.
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