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Chemistry   >   Animal Magnetism


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Animal Magnetism

In this lecture Professor Peter Hore (University of Oxford) reveals the latest research on magnetoreception in birds. How do birds orient themselves, and travel in the correct direction when migrating? We (i) look at the vast distances covered by different birds on their migration routes to understand why some sort of internal compass would be useful for migratory animals; (ii) we then see the experiments carried out to prove the existence of some internal response to the Earth’s magnetic field, changing the effects of the magnetic field on a night-migratory songbird; (iii) then moving onto the prevailing theory behind magnetoreception, the radical pair mechanism; (iv), demonstrating and observing the radical pair mechanism within specific proteins; and (v) looking at additional experiments, possible uses and exciting speculations.


In this mini-lecture, we introduce research on magnetoreception in birds by first discussing migration routes. Why do birds need to orient themselves? We look at the enormous distances travelled by birds on their migration routes, thinking about how a bird might orient itself using the senses that we know. Notable landmarks? Smell? We learn why these theories are unlikely, leaving us with one final possibility: that birds orient themselves using the Earth’s magnetic field.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hore, P. (2022, January 18). Animal Magnetism - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hore, P. "Animal Magnetism – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Jan 2022,

Image Credits


Prof. Peter Hore

Prof. Peter Hore

University of Oxford