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GPS Homing Pigeons

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Various species of migratory birds have evolved advanced navigation techniques, allowing them to cross the continents with ease. This facility has, with selective breeding, reached its zenith in homing pigeons.

However, disaster looms. With (we are told) tumultuous climatic change just around the corner, perhaps the traditional pointers and referents used by these creatures for eons will become so distorted as to leave them lost, and doomed to extinction.

Salvation is at hand, in the form of GPS. We should selectively breed these birds to use GPS as their navigation method. I freely admit that the GPS protocol is intricate in the extreme, but nature, unaided, has produced evolved solutions to more difficult problems in the past, albeit over a longish timescale.

A selective breeding program, possibly augmented with a dash of genetic business, should equip our feathered friends to face the uncertainties of the future.

Mickey the Fish, Sep 12 2000


       Since no one knows quite how birds do this trick, isn't it hard to know exactly how we might accidentally disrupt it.   

       Instead of breeding birds to send and receive satellite transmissions, why don't we just teach them how to navigate by the sun and stars? Maybe they do that already.
centauri, Sep 12 2000

       Actually if you programmed it right you could have GPS Homing Pigeon Pie.
Alcin, Sep 14 2000

       "We didn't receive any messages, and Captain BlackAdder did not shoot this delicious, plump-breasted pigeon."- Hugh Laurie, Blackadder Goes Forth   

       You could also use said pigeons for suicide bombing runs.
BigThor, Sep 16 2000

       Wouldn't they fly round in circles if they had a GPS display unit under one wing? Mind you if they had the bomb under the other wing.......
Walrus, Oct 04 2000

       I think you could improve on the homing of pigeons (and other animals as well) with a GPS system. if a pigeon can be trained to peck a box to get food im guessing they could be taught to do other things. imagine this: on a plane you have 360 degees you can travel, what if all but the correct 1 degree, emit a tone. if the animal was taught to move in a direction and avoid the tone they would get to the destination. GPS enabled creatures would in some respects be better than non GPs equipt as homing pigeons only go one way, home.
wrenchndmachine, Oct 04 2000

       As long as those 'Rats with wings' are nowhere near my car you can do whatever you want to them.
thumbwax, Oct 05 2000


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