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Polarized light helps not-so-blind bats find their way at dusk
Polarized light helps not-so-blind bats find their way at dusk

Bats are famous for using echolocation to navigate in the dark of night--sending sound into the environment and using the resulting echoes to locate prey and avoid obstacles. But echolocation only works in a limited range, between 16 and 160 feet. For longer-term navigation bats must rely on a suite of cues including what they can see (despite the phrase "blind as a bat"), the Earth's magnetic field and -- according to a new study in Nature Communications -- patterns of polarized light in the sky at dusk. These patterns of light are not visible to the human eye, but they help a whole slew of animals calibrate their internal compasses. Many invertebrates use it. So do...

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