Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why cows face north

First reaction to this was "What a load of bull". I've spent enough time with cows to have a fair idea what they think. I just do not believe the conclusions of the team of scientists from Diusburg-Essen University which find that cows face north because they have inbuilt compasses to align them with Earth's magnetic field. Its reported that that these scientists have been studying Google Earth, found this tendency for cows to face north, and could think of no other plausible reason to explain the phenomenon. All they had to do was ask Peter, Paul and Mary (Does anyone else remember them). The answer is 'Blowing in the wind', which in Britain is predominantly from the South. As John, who used to work for me so sagely observed "Them'll usual turn their ar*** to the driving rain".


Graham said...

Er, no. The prevailing wind is from the West.

I must admit I have looked at the cows in the field opposite my house with rather more interest than usual since seeing this story, and noticed that they have consistently faced north when grazing, but have not spotted any obvious alignment when they have been lying down.

Whether they are looking north because of the weather, because it is the most comfortable position to stand on the slope, or because of the magnetic field I have no idea.

If the researchers are right I wonder if cow sheds should be re-designed so all the cubicles point north.

Glyn Davies said...

Graham - I thought it was South -West. I'm always really pleased when anyone takes a post of this sort seriously. I still reckon my theory is as good as any.