View Single Post
Old 08-28-2009, 08:55 AM
HorseloverFat HorseloverFat is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 2,084
Here's a more decent study that shows people literally walk in circles when left to wander. Something tells me the homing instinct is a load of bunk or the study was flawed (light leakage from the blindfolds):

Those traipsing about in the sun seemed to have little trouble keeping a relatively straight course. But once the sun
(or night moon) disappeared, volunteers seemed to get hopelessly lost and meandered about aimlessly—even though they believed themselves to be keeping a steady bearing. Those in the forest turned several circles, often recrossing their own path unknowingly.

"Even though walking in a straight line seems like a very simple thing to do, it's actually very complicated," Souman says. "It's not a very natural thing to do." And because researchers can't very well give verbal instructions to lab rats or birds, it's hard to know whether animals would perform any better than humans at this exercise.

The sun, it seemed was a "really important cue for direction," says Souman, who suggests people used shadows to maintain their orientation. But even that didn't present a clear-cut explanation. In the experiments, subjects were walking for a few hours at a time, during which the sun would move about 50-60 degrees, he explains. A strict adherence to the sun's location would have meant a similarly bent course, but subjects somehow did seem to correct for the movement.
Humans LITERALLY walk in circles without the sun or the moon to guide them. Homing pigeons they are not.

Last edited by HorseloverFat; 08-28-2009 at 08:58 AM.