Navigation in Nature

  • F. G. Major


Life on earth displays myriads of forms and behaviors, but none so mystifies us as the ability of many creatures to find their way over immense distances spanning the globe, often crossing wide expanses of open sea to perform their migrating ritual. It is still largely a mystery that reaches to the very genetic basis of animal behavior. The seemingly infinite paths of evolution are here again evident in the many ways that animals have developed to find their way according to their different environments. Some animals live and move on the earth’s surface, over widely varying terrain, others high in the atmosphere through wind and cloud, while yet others through the great ocean depths. In one notable instance, the monarch butterfly is able to migrate thousands of miles across the North American continent, a journey so long that it incredibly requires at least two generations to complete it! No less baffling is the migratory behavior of some other animals: for example, the Manx shearwater, a fast-flying seabird, that can glide and plane its way to breeding grounds across the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific salmon that returns to the very stream where it was hatched after 2 years of wandering thousands of miles at sea.


Global Position System Circadian Clock Dung Beetle Global Position System Receiver Homing Pigeon 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. G. Major
    • 1
  1. 1.Severna ParkUSA

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