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Dogs Defecate In Alignment With Earth's Magnetic Field 222

Posted by timothy
from the markov-chain-as-god dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "But for whatever its worth, all that spinning is far from arbitrary. What dog owners witness is a small and furry version of the aurora borealis and a link between species and environment that's as holistic and beautiful as a dog pooping can be. A team of Czech and German researchers found that dogs actually align themselves with the Earth's magnetic field when they poop. Proving at least that they're really devoted to their work, the researchers measured the direction of the body axis of 70 dogs from 37 breeds during 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations over the course of two years, and found that dogs "prefer to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm magnetic field conditions." They fittingly published their results [abstract] in the journal Frontiers in Zoology ."
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Dogs Defecate In Alignment With Earth's Magnetic Field

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  • soooo; (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jafac (1449) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @07:36PM (#45851677) Homepage

    they won't poop on a magnetized carpet?

  • by Chewbacon (797801) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @09:15PM (#45852583)

    I take pictures of our dog pooping and send them to my wife has pranks. "Hey, look at what the baby's doing. :dog shitting picture:" So, I went through them and sure enough she's either facing north or south in the backyard pinching a loaf. She maybe off by a 10 degrees, but never east or west with the same margin.

  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @09:23PM (#45852645) Homepage

    According to the paper, studies were conducted in an open field and there was reportedly no bias based on whether data was recorded e.g., in the morning or in the afternoon. Due to the local weather conditions most of the time the skies were cloudy. When there chanced to be magnetic storms during the day then the dogs' North-South preference disappeared. They did a fairly good of controlling for other factors. The alignment of the magnetic field gave the best correlation.

  • by BringsApples (3418089) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @10:58PM (#45853279)

    But this was perhaps the first time that magnetic sensitivity was proven in dogs, and it was also the first time that a predictable behavioral reaction to the fluctuations in the magnetic field—magnetic storms, often as resulting from solar flares—was proven in a mammal.

    I might be off topic here, but...
    My house sits almost exactly diagonal to Earth's magnetic field, meaning that - unlike Solomon's Temple - only the corners of the house face North, East, South or West. I noticed that both of my kids wiggle around in their sleep in order to have their head face East. This happens in their beds, as well as on the floor. I told my wife what I thought, and we did some experiments:
    Beds:
    I moved both of the kids' beds to have the head face East, and both kids slept straight in their beds (they didn't wiggle out of that direction at all - we tested this for a few weeks. When I moved them back, the kids wiggled to have their heads face East again. So I moved the beds back to have the head face East and left them that way.

    Floor:
    On the weekend we would put a bunch of blankets down in the living room and pass out watching movies. The kids would always wiggle to have their heads facing East. I changed the blankets to have their heads facing West, but the kids would wiggle around to have their heads facing East.

    I don't really find that either my wife or I wiggle around to face a certain direction, but I do find it easier to fall asleep if I move my couch to have my head facing East. Not sure if anyone else has ever had a similar experience.

  • by Beeftopia (1846720) on Friday January 03, 2014 @12:51AM (#45853811)

    Of Cows and Power Lines
    Cattle seem to have an internal compass--one that's messed up by power lines
    Posted 1 Jul 2009 | 4:00 GMT
    IEEE Spectrum

    A team of researchers from Germany and the Czech Republic has already discovered that, all factors being equal, cattle and two species of deer tend to align themselves along a north-south axis using some innate magnetic sense, and that this preferred alignment is disturbed when they graze under high-voltage power lines.

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/of-cows-and-power-lines [ieee.org]

  • by aevan (903814) on Friday January 03, 2014 @01:22AM (#45853895)
    I'd love to refute this but... in um... maybe 7,000 walks of our two dogs, the clear majority of the time they face north. They face northish when we walk them on a north/south road. they face north when we let them crap on an east/west road. It's not always, but it's good majority. To the point that they'll muck around nibbling leaves and grass, but moment they do a 'spin in a circle and face north' you know what's coming next.

    The only time I've seen them go really randomish is when we're by a power station up the road. So maybe the story has a point.
  • Re:I smell bullshit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lagomorpha2 (1376475) on Friday January 03, 2014 @09:03AM (#45855417)

    Dogs are pack animals. What if this behavior developed as a way of making sure they were all at right angles to each other when they stopped to defecate as a way to watch for predators from all sides?

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