Special Perspectives

Conflicting Evidence About Long-Distance Animal Navigation

Science  11 Aug 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5788, pp. 791-794
DOI: 10.1126/science.1129048

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Abstract

Because of conflicting evidence about several fundamental issues, long-distance animal navigation has yet to be satisfactorily explained. Among the unsolved problems are the nature of genetic spatial control of migration and the relationships between celestial and magnetic compass mechanisms and between different map-related cues in orientation and homing, respectively. In addition, navigation is expected to differ between animal groups depending on sensory capabilities and ecological conditions. Evaluations based on modern long-term tracking techniques of the geometry of migration routes and individual migration history, combined with behavioral experiments and exploration of the sensory and genetic mechanisms, will be crucial for understanding the spatial principles that guide animals on their global journeys.

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