HappyCow2.jpgLost in the woods and don't know which way is north? Should have brought along your cow.

Scientists have published a study reporting that cows seem to detect the Earth's magnetic field and tend to orient themselves in a north-south direction out in the pasture.

The research team used satellite photos from Google Earth to analyze the orientation of 8,510 cattle at 308 sites around the globe. Examining the photos showed that the cows were more likely to be lined up north-south than to be pointing randomly. Of course this is only a correlation study and there may be many other reasons, such as wind direction or sun direction, for why cows line up the way they do.

Still, the idea of magnetic cows is fascinating. Hikers might want to start taking a cow with them. Besides finding north, when you're lost you could get milk and cheese.