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Fish travel with a better GPS

The following is an excerpt from the Carolina Alumni Review / Nov-Dec 2017 / University of North Carolina Biology Department story titled:

The eels must have GPS, but where are they hiding it?

by Skip Clement

A study on young European eels (Anguilla anguilla – “glass eels”), about the size of your pinky finger and almost transparent, reveals migratory fish, like the eels, leatherback turtles, chinook salmon and more than likely many others have a unique GPS system that’s been operating for millions of years.

Finding X marks the spot

How do these eels, and other species, successfully navigate thousands of miles of open ocean, with some species living at one location (in between transits), for up to 15 years, then retrace steps and arrive at “X” marks the spot –  literally a pinpoint on a map? These travelers are both anadromous (born in freshwater, then migrate to the ocean) and catadromous (the opposite).

European Glass Eels

It turns out these migratory animals and possibly birds and terrestrial creatures, a University of North Carolina study says, perhaps… “ . . . have underlying DNA receptors (crystals) that guide them.” The European eels, as well as other of nature’s manufacture, use magnetic maps to navigate. These magnetic maps are strewn on the ocean floor where they have been for millions of years. It is their “receptors” that provide migratory species with Google Map like options, “Your Location,” and “Choose destination.”

The Carolina study proved that the eels studied can be removed from their location, then returned at another location and can reorient themselves to their original “X” marks the spot destination.

We also have these “crystals,” but where are they in our bodies? How do we tap into them? No one knows that, yet

A past research error assumed “as the crow flys,” migrating fish do not think that way nor do they fly. Baby European eels travel more than 3700 miles from their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea to rivers, streams, and lakes from North Africa to Scandinavia, and then 15 years later all the way back to the Bermuda Triangle. It doesn’t matter to the eels the shortest distance between two points, they hitch rides on currents and let the current do the walkin’.

Read complete story . . .

Featured Image: European Glass Eels

 

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