How Does a Female Turtle find its Way Home after Decades of Travelling Thousands of Miles Just to Lay Its Eggs?



A female giant sea turtles’ motherly instinct may play a crucial role in their return home after several years just to lay their eggs. They may be thinking about their hatchlings’ survival by returning to the safety of their birthplace. They were able to make it there, why not the next generation of turtles?

So how are they able to do it?

“Sea turtles migrate across thousands of miles of ocean before returning to nest on the same stretch of coastline where they hatched, but how they do this has mystified scientists for more than fifty years,” explains J. Roger Brothers, from the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill. He adds, “Turtles have evolved a way to use the inclination angle of the geometric field, and its intensity to give them almost an internal.”

Furthermore, he states, “Our results provide evidence that turtles imprint on the unique magnetic field of their natal beach as hatchlings and then use this information to return as adults.”

Though it’s common knowledge among experts that turtles have a way of utilizing Earth’s magnetic field to find their way home through the oceans, their ability to return to the place where they were born remains a mystery.

Not long ago, just few years past, when co-author Kenneth Lohman (also of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) first brought to the world’s attention the idea of magnetic imprinting theory, which says both sea turtles and salmon seem to have the uncanny way of doing it, but confirming how they do it in the ocean remains an impossibility up to now.

Brothers and Lohmann are planning to use another approach in their research. They will be analyzing the behavior of nesting turtles for a long time.

Female turtles only come out of the sea to lay their eggs. They travel several thousand miles just to lay their eggs where they were originally born several decades in the making.

Brothers goes on to say, “We reasoned that if turtles use the magnetic field to find their natal beaches, then naturally occurring changes in the Earth’s field might influence where turtles nest.”

This is just the initial phase of the research yet and Brothers has this say, “Our hope is that this analysis will open the door to figuring out how all the other animals are doing it.” Will they be able to solve to solve the problem? The chance may not be coming for this season.



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