Superparamagnetic Magnetite in the Upper Beak Tissue of Homing Pigeons

@article{Hanzlik2004SuperparamagneticMI,
  title={Superparamagnetic Magnetite in the Upper Beak Tissue of Homing Pigeons},
  author={Marianne Hanzlik and Ch Heunemann and Elke Holtkamp-R{\"o}tzler and Michael Winklhofer and Nikolai P. Petersen and Gerta Fleissner},
  journal={Biometals},
  year={2004},
  volume={13},
  pages={325-331}
}
Homing pigeons have been subject of various studies trying to detect magnetic material which might be involved in magnetic field perception. Here we focus on the upper-beak skin of homing pigeons, a region that has previously been shown to contain nerves sensitive to changes of the ambient magnetic field. We localized Fe3+ concentrations in the subcutis and identified the material by transmission electronmicroscopy (TEM) as aggregates of magnetite nanocrystals (with grain sizes between 1 and 5… 

Hypothetical superparamagnetic magnetometer in a pigeon’s upper beak probably does not work

TLDR
The results indicate that magnetite clusters, constituted by superparamagnetic nanoparticles and observed in a pigeon’s upper beak, may not be a component of a measuring system providing the magnetic map.

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The subcellular organization of afferent trigeminal terminals in the upper beak of the homing pigeon, Columba livia, which are about 5 μm in diameter and contain superparamagnetic magnetite (SPM) crystals was investigated.

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The proposed receptor theoretically is studied and the criteria for which it becomes operational and can be used for registering the weak magnetic fields as, e.g., the geomagnetic field, by a bird is formulated.

Avian Magnetoreception: Elaborate Iron Mineral Containing Dendrites in the Upper Beak Seem to Be a Common Feature of Birds

The magnetic field sensors enabling birds to extract orientational information from the Earth's magnetic field have remained enigmatic. Our previously published results from homing pigeons have made

The magnetic properties of tissue samples and iron-rich organelles from the pigeon Columba livia / Daniel Kagerbauer

TLDR
This study investigates the magnetic properties of ferritin and a variety of pigeon tissues using Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID) magnetometry, and modelled the magneto-electric properties of an iron-rich organelle, the cuticulosome, implicated in the magnetic sense.

Magnetic pulse affects a putative magnetoreceptor mechanism.

TLDR
A physical model that accurately predicts the dynamics of interacting SP clusters in a magnetic field offers a novel mechanism for magnetic field perception and is in agreement with the response of birds observed after magnetic-pulse treatments.

A novel concept of Fe-mineral-based magnetoreception: histological and physicochemical data from the upper beak of homing pigeons

Animals make use of the Earth’s magnetic field for navigation and regulation of vegetative functions; however, the anatomical and physiological basis for the magnetic sense has not been elucidated
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