The Strangest Hypothesis Yet in the Mystery of Bird Migration Uses a Quantum Theory that Baffled Einstein

Albert Einstein, often considered the father of modern physics, struggled with many concepts in the realm of quantum physics (which is the study of the very small, such as particles). In particular, he could not accept the fundamentals of “quantum entanglement”. He attempted to disprove it's innate the principles, and even labeled it “spooky action at a distance”. The reason being, that along with many other facets of quantum mechanics, it conflicted with his equations that described the world at large (and of the large)! Specifically, quantum entanglement is a principle that shows that certain kinds of particles, in certain situations, maintain a type of near instant communication at a speed that violates Einstein's views of faster than light travel.

Now, a recent field, quantum biology, which studies the behaviors and roles of atomic and substomic particles in living things, has turned out a hypothesis that would surely have Einstein flying the coop. It is theorized that certain kinds of birds, such as the adorable little European Robin, use nothing less than spooky action to find their way across countless miles of migration.


European robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Photo by: Frank Vassen

The hypothesis, both technical and complicated, suggests that birds are capable of using these entangled particle pairs to actually see the magnetic fields of the earth, creating a visual magnetic map of various directions, such as north and south, using nothing more than their eyes.

The specific mechanism responsible for this visualization is said to be entangled particles that reside with the bird's eyes. These particle pairs are disrupted by the magnetic fields of the earth, and the eyes of the birds measure the change that is effectuated. Something of further interest to scientists, is that this measurement would require the birds to keep the particles in an entangled state longer than is currently possible in laboratory conditions.

So are these birdies destined to parent the next great generation of science? Maybe not, but with their ability to utilize science in methods Einstein could never understand, it may give a whole new meaning to the term “bird brain”.


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Image source:

European robin (Erithacus rubecula), Parc du Rouge-Cloître, Bruxelles by Frank Vassen and licensed under CC BY 2.0


Author: RalphieB

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