Researchers observed a change in the behaviour of dolphins whenever they swim near magnetized objects. It was then found that they are sensitive to magnetic stimuli.
Lead researcher Dorothee Kremers and her colleagues at Ethos unit of the Universite de Rennes in France affirmed that they have behavioural evidence showing that these marine species are magnetoreceptive.
The researchers explained that magnetoreception is a sense, which allows an organism to detect a magnetic field to perceive direction, altitude or location. It is considered to play an important role as to how certain land and aquatic species orientate and navigate themselves.
After observing some migration routes and certain stranding sites of whales, dolphins and porpoises, it has been suggested that they might be sensitive to geomagnetic fields.
Kremers and her colleagues affirmed that there was not enough experimental evidence on the same. Therefore, they started a study having an aim to know the behaviour of six bottlenose dolphins in the delphinarium of Planete Sauvage in Port-Saint-Pere in France.
The dolphins were either introduced in a barrel having a strongly magnetized block or in a barrel free of any magnetization. Except the magnetization part, the barrels were same. During the experimental sessions, the animals were allowed to freely swim in and out of the pools.
The researchers noticed that the dolphins’ approach rate towards the barrel having magnetized block was quite faster than the barrel not having any magnetization. It shall be noted that the dolphins did not show any type of difference while interacting with both the types of barrels.
Therefore, it can be said that the dolphins’ interest level was more towards the barrel having the magnetized block rather than being physically drawn towards the barrel.
“Our results provide new, experimentally obtained evidence that cetaceans have a magnetic sense, and should therefore be added to the list of magnetosensitive species”, stated Kremers.