By Joel Hruska on May 8, 2014 at 10:00 am
A research team working at the University of Oldenburg in Germany has gathered a significant body of evidence suggesting that human-generated electromagnetic radiation — i.e. radio waves — can interfere with the navigational abilities of some bird species, seemingly confirming decades of speculation.
When I first saw this news, I was honestly skeptical — despite the fact that no double-blind study has ever demonstrated the existence of an EM allergy or “electrosmog,” there’s a vocal subset of the population who insist on believing that cell phones cause cancer, or that living under power lines causes the brain to develop abnormally. This isn’t that kind of babbling idiocy — the lead scientist on the project, biologist Henrik Mouritson, acknowledges that he found his own test results highly unlikely.
Since the 1950s, scientists have known that a number of species on Earth have the ability — called magnetoception — to sense the Earth’s magnetic field and can use it to navigate across vast distances, even when cut off from the sun, moon, and other stars. In this case, the researchers were attempting to repeat a well-known experiment in which robins are placed in a funnel-shaped cage in a windowless room with blotting paper inside the cage. Researchers then watch the marks on the paper to determine where and how the birds align themselves in their attempts to escape. The experiment has been done hundreds of times since the 1950s — except, in Oldenburg, it wasn’t working. The birds wouldn’t align, no matter what the researchers tried. …more