Mark Twain was right: Google Earth shows that all cows point north

(photo ‘Spring Moos‘ by Fiona McGinty)

I can’t believe it took me a week to see this. The missus told me this the other night but I assumed she was winding me up as usual. Turns out she wasn’t. The Beeb reports:
‘Images from Google Earth have confirmed that cattle tend to align their bodies in a north-south direction. Wild deer also display this behaviour – a phenomenon that has apparently gone unnoticed by herdsmen and hunters for thousands of years. In the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, scientists say the Earth’s magnetic fields may influence the behaviour of these animals. The Earth can be viewed as a huge magnet, with magnetic north and south situated close to the geographical poles.’
Now that’s what technology and the web are for – showing us the wonderful weirdness in the humdrum of the everyday. Beautiful.
Of course, as many bloggers have pointed out, there’s nothing really new here: Mark Twain made this observation in Huckleberry Finn.
It’s an intriguing story and one that gets better the more you look into it. For some interesting theories and explanations, have a look at the comments below this entry from the folks over at the Freakonomics blog.

Damien DeBarra was born in the late 20th century and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. He now lives in London, England where he shares a house with four laptops, three bikes and a large collection of chairs.

1 comment

  1. My fellow scottish dancers have derided me for telling them that our sets, of 4 couples, gravitate to one side of the room when we dance. The “North side”! Additionally I have done some water witching whereby I try to determine where the best spot is to drill a well! While the underground stream is not necessarily north south, it shows how the body can pick up stuff not accepted by our arrogant medical profession. Therefor the big question for all mankind is does one sleep better if your noggin is pointed North!

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