Breaking News: Cows Point North!

After reviewing thousands of images of cows on Google Earth, the new gold standard in data collection, scientists have determined that cows generally point north. Lest you think this is some crap news my brother grabbed from the Daily Mail, Dr. Sabine Begall and colleagues from the University of Duisburg-Essen published this discovery in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

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When you Google "Cow Compass" this is what happens.

After factoring out variations like wind, terrain, sun, time of day, time of year, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, dew point, breed of cow, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, and specific density, Begall and company determined that the cows must get their innate bearings from the earth's magnetic field. They theorize this adaptation must have come in handy when cows wild ancestors wandered the earth freely, looking for a good time.

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Which way am I facing now Einstein?

Thanks to Chris Cleveland for sending along.

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Ha ha... love the Cow Compass from Google. I was recently doing some research on knocking out genes in chickens, and Google gave me Nell Carter's Knockout Chicken Recipe. Bless Google's heart.

Are these only cows in the Northern Hemisphere? Cattle (this species) evolved and only lived in the S. Hemisphere, so this may not be important. But it would be interesting to see what S. Hemisphere cows do.

And, what do, say, Cape Buffalo, which are trans-equatorial (but maybe more southern?)

And what about ponies? Which way do the ponies point?

please write me i want to get a pig and i want to know how you got them

hey i thought the blogs went to murry (the man with the miniature pigs 4 sale)

They face 'north' --- which also means --- they fart 'south'.

That helps explain the typical southerners 'bad attitude' [ theres something in the air ].

The further south you go , the worse it gets. This could help explain the demise of the Incas and Aztecs --- as the Spanish imported cattle , so went the dominance of the natives.

The mad scientist in me wants to do experiments with cows and magnets.

Maybe this is a new phenomenon. After all, we've only had photography for a couple of hundred years. Maybe in the old days they all faced east and got tired of looking into the morning sun.

Cow magnets.

I think it would be hilarious if it turns out that cows are facing north to keep the magnets from tickling their insides.

(I used to have a couple of cow magnets when I was kid. They're fun and educational!)

Whoever writes the captions, thanks for always making me laugh! You made my day today.


Cows sometimes have "hardware disease", accumulation of pieces of wire, nails, etc in their stomach (not sure which one).

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 27 Aug 2008 #permalink