Google Earth has a new function: determining the preferred orientation of cows. Sabine Begall and Hynek Burda of the University of Duisburg-Essen looked at over 8,500 cattle and almost 3,000 resting red and roe deer from around the world using imagery from Google Earth and discovered that cattle grazing or resting tend to orient their bodies towards the north using magnetoreception
The exact benefit for cattle isn’t understood and the authors note that “ubiquitous phenomenon does not seem to have been noticed by herdsmen, ranchers, or hunters.”
Begall, S., Červený, J., Neef, J., Vojtěch, O., & Burda, H. (2008). Magnetic alignment in grazing and resting cattle and deer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(36), 13451-13455.
Cows Automatically Point to the North – UK Telegraph