Magnets on The Brain

Why some humans have a better sense of direction

SCIENTISTS HAVE KNOWN FOR YEARS THAT SOME ANImals -- birds, fish, insects -- have tiny natural magnets embedded in their tissues, crystals of a mineral known as magnetite. The suspicion is that magnetite enables these creatures to sense the earth's magnetic field, letting them navigate from one place to another with what amounts to biological compasses.

Now a group of scientists at the California Institute of Technology has discovered that magnetite is found in human brains as well. That could eventually explain why some people have a better sense of direction -- perhaps they have more magnetite. The presence of magnetically...

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