GAINESVILLE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – The findings of a new study indicate that dogs prefer to relieve themselves in alignment with Earth’s North-South axis.
A team of researchers based in various locations throughout the world – including the Czech University of Life Sciences in the Czech Republic and the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany – collaborated on the study, which is said to prove canine sensitivity to the Earth’s magnetic field.
“Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm [magnetic field] conditions,” the journal Frontiers in Zoology noted in a published copy of the study’s findings. “This directional behavior was abolished under Unstable [magnetic field].”
Researchers also noted, “The best predictor of the behavioral switch was the rate of change in declination, i.e., polar orientation of the [magnetic field].”
For the study, the team involved observed 70 dogs during urination and defecation over a two-year period. A reported 37 breeds were represented in all during the study, which documented thousands of excretion events in an effort to see if their body axes aligned with magnetic fields in the process.
“It is for the first time that (a) magnetic sensitivity was proved in dogs, (b) a measurable, predictable behavioral reaction upon natural MF fluctuations could be unambiguously proven in a mammal, and (c) high sensitivity to small changes in polarity, rather than in intensity, of MF was identified as biologically meaningful,” the team noted.
Those involved in the study said that its findings could affect future observations of a similar nature.
“The phenomenon challenges biophysicists to formulate testable hypotheses for mechanisms responsible for magnetoreception of inconsistencies of the direction of the [magnetic field] direction,” the study indicated. “Finally, it forces biologists and physicians to seriously reconsider effects magnetic storms might pose on organisms.”
The Magnetic Lab at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory of the University of Florida states that our planet’s magnetic field is also strong enough for humans to be able to make rudimentary compasses on their own.
“The Earth’s magnetic field is strong enough to make the north pole of a very light compass needle align with the magnetic south pole of the planet,” their official website states, before explaining that the Earth’s magnetic south pole is opposite to its geographic north pole.