Simulations to True Animals' Long-Distance Geomagnetic Navigation

Xiaokang Qi, Dexin Ye, Yongzhi Sun, Changzhi Li, Lixin Ran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


How animals navigate in their cross-continental migration has puzzled scientists for centuries. To date, the mechanism behind this mysterious navigation remains unclear. In this paper, a hypothesis is developed and computer simulations have been performed to investigate long-distance animal navigation. Simulation results show that animals may be able to complete their long-distance navigation by observing a spatial angle included by the geomagnetic field line and a geographic direction, without necessarily knowing any prior landmark information. Our results not only match existing observation reports in detail on the long-distance migration routes of animals, but also are able to explain the conflicting evidence on the role of geomagnetic field in animal navigation. We think our results could help reveal the actual mechanism of animal navigation. This paper also provides a potential solution for global and local area navigation of mankind and machines assisted by artificial sensors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7544618
JournalIEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017


  • Animal navigation
  • Kalman filter
  • biological informatics
  • geomagnetic field


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