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No. 27: May-Jun 1983

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A COMPASS IN OUR SINUSES?

You may not feel any north-directed nasal twinges, but the thin hard bones lining the human sinuses contain deposits of magnetic ferric iron. This discovery adds man to a long list of organisms from bacteria to birds known to possess localized accumulations of magnetic material. Experiments with these animals, including humans, seem to indicate a widespread ability to detect ambient magnetic fields. Some animals appear to use this sense for navigation. Whether humans do or do not is still a moot question.

(Baker, Robin R., et al; "Magnetic Bones in Human Sinuses," Nature, 301: 78, 1983.)

From Science Frontiers #27, MAY-JUN 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss