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Why do sheep all face the same way in a field?

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The Earth's magnetic field might have something to do with this baaaa-rmy behaviour.

Asked by: David Wilson, Glasgow


Sheep tend to stand with their backs to the wind when it is cold, but even on sunny days, cows, sheep and even deer all tend to face in the same direction. Research looking at satellite images has shown that they prefer to align themselves north to south. It’s possible that they might be sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field, but how they can sense this, or why that might be useful, isn’t currently understood.


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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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