Dogs Align With Earth's Magnetic Field While Pooping, Study Finds

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Dogs Align With Earth's Magnetic Field While Pooping, Study Finds

Dogs use "internal compass" to face north or south while relieving themselves.

Dogs already boast better senses of smell and hearing than humans do, and now they can add sensing the earth's magnetic field to their list of accomplishments. A team of zoologists, led by Hynek Burda at Germany's University of Duisburg-Essen, have published a study showing that dogs prefer to relieve themselves while aligned with the Earth's magnetic field. Burda's previous work showed that cows, deer, and foxes are all capable of magnetoreception - the ability to sense Earth's magnetic field. The new study is the first to show a mammal change its behavior in response to sensing the magnetic field.

The study analyzed how 70 dogs oriented themselves during over 7000 bathroom breaks. At first, there was no clear pattern of a preferred direction. However, once natural variations in the Earth's magnetic field were taken into consideration by comparing the orientation data to daily magnetograms, which shows variations in the Earth's magnetic field, the researchers discovered a potty preference. Burda says, "The emerging picture of the analysis of the categorized data is as clear as [it is] astounding: Dogs prefer alignment along the magnetic north-south axis, but only in periods of calm magnetic field conditions." Solar winds and the magnetic field of the sun can cause instabilities in Earth's magnetic field, including geomagnetic storms. Minor instabilities may disrupt your pooch's bathroom habits, but major ones can cause telecommunications blackouts. During the study, unstable magnetic field conditions were present 70 percent of the time.

The researchers will follow up on this evidence of earth's magnetic fields influencing dog behavior by trying to answer two questions. First, what exactly are dogs doing with their ability to sense magnetic fields, besides facing north or south while urinating or defecating? Second, how are dogs able to sense the magnetic fields? How magnetoreception works is an area of active research. Homing pigeons have been shown to use the Earth's magnetic field for orientation, but the exact mechanism for this sense has not been proven.

The researchers also intend to set up a website through the Universtiy of Duisburg-Essen for dog owners who want to test their pup's abilities. The website should launch by January 6, for all of you intrepid amateur researchers of dog toilet behaviour.

Source: National Geographic

Permalink

SCIENCE!

Not sure what we would gain by this, but knowing more is better. Cows tend to stand in alignment with magnetic fields as well. Do they use them to navigate, like pidgeons do?

Who the hell sits around and thinks up this stuff? I'm now just wondering how much this crap (lol) cost in the end.

1) How big was the German government grant that paid for these "researchers" to study crapping dogs?

2) Why is this important?

3) Who cares, so long as the dog isn't crapping on their lawn?

Deathfish15:
1) How big was the German government grant that paid for these "researchers" to study crapping dogs?

2) Why is this important?

3) Who cares, so long as the dog isn't crapping on their lawn?

Science is all about checking out random stuff, it's usually the unexpected stuff that yields massive results. Nothing should be "too unimportant" for us to investigate. (and frankly it pisses me off when people disagree)

Thurston:
SCIENCE!

Not sure what we would gain by this, but knowing more is better. Cows tend to stand in alignment with magnetic fields as well. Do they use them to navigate, like pidgeons do?

what do we gain? more importantly what do dogs gain by doing this? what about pooping in line with magnetic fields was such a benefit that they evolved to do it.

my best guess is that it's easier for dogs to identify the markings of other dogs if they all fall within a specific alignment, and that other species might have taken different alignments, but that's just me making stuff up right now

Deathfish15:

2) Why is this important?

If you read the source, you'd know that it was part of a search for animals that respond to magnetic fields, a la the few examples that are currently known.

However, this work is questionable, not the least of which is that maybe the dogs just wanted to point in a direction out of alignment with the sun. If I was going to squat and poop outdors, I wouldn't do it with the sun in my eyes, leaving me with about a 2 out of 3 chance of choosing north/south in any situation.

GASP, I do this also!!! Mostly because the toilet in my house faces north.

That this is an article is dwarfed by this being a study. No, there's no need to pour more funding into our sex robots and hover-cars, that dog's taking a shit and we must know it's secrets.

I'd really like to call bull- I mean- dogsh*t on this one but I know I don't understand enough about the science behind these sorts of things to make a fully informed call. Instead, I'll remain sceptical about this instead.

I'm waiting for the study that confirms mens ability to do the same, confirming my belief that we have an overall better sense of direction and therefore don't need a map or need to ask strangers for direction.

What? I'm serious.

This is absolute bollocks. I worked in a free-range kennels for a few years, and the dogs pooped or peed in random places on the various fields. Trust the Germans to study poop and still fail miserably.

No wonder humans are so unhappy. They often poop into the wrong direction. I suggest toilets that automatically align themselves according to the earth's current magnetic field lines.

I actually believe a lot of people can tell where the north is too.

think about it. people keep saying that they have either good or bad sense of direction but how? why? In my case, my sense of direction comes from the fact that my brain just sort of aligns all the places I go to so that there is one specific direction which I view as the default (in my case it's west which I feel like it's sort of 'up'). I can tell in what orientation most of the places I know are in relation to others without ever looking them up in a map.

Aboriginal Australians are said to know this, the directions being so firmly rooted in their language and used for so many things that they take it for granted.

I just think that most people can't do it simply because they think they can't. Because it seems illogical. Like it's something paranormal. Well I think we can all learn to poop facing north without asking for directions. And it would be super scientific.

If we feed a dog tacos and strap him onto something rotating, does that make him a compass?

My dog must be broken. He walks when he poops. He takes the squat stance, but he keeps on walking, mostly in circles.

Icehearted:
That this is an article is dwarfed by this being a study. No, there's no need to pour more funding into our sex robots and hover-cars, that dog's taking a shit and we must know it's secrets.

Agreed, instead of having Deus Ex: Human Revolution level Cybernetics or having Real Life Gundams, we have to pour our research in dogs taking a dump. (Sigh) God...Dang it. /facedesk

...Okay, why did people feel the need to study this? Is it really so necessary to know the direction my dog faces when she poops on the carpet? You'd think there'd be more important things to study...

kinda pointless unless they tell us which way they actually face no ?

if its all North OR all South...great...a shitting dog compass...if it's not...if it's North OR South depending on the dog or "weather"...useless }:(

So, logically, I can control when and where a dog takes a crap using magnetic fields?

CrazyGirl17:
...Okay, why did people feel the need to study this? Is it really so necessary to know the direction my dog faces when she poops on the carpet? You'd think there'd be more important things to study...

Why don't you just train her to crap on someone else's carpet? Or, better, outside. I've never had to train a dog, but just screaming at the cats every time they look like crapping generally stops them.

Baffle:

CrazyGirl17:
...Okay, why did people feel the need to study this? Is it really so necessary to know the direction my dog faces when she poops on the carpet? You'd think there'd be more important things to study...

Why don't you just train her to crap on someone else's carpet? Or, better, outside. I've never had to train a dog, but just screaming at the cats every time they look like crapping generally stops them.

Eh, sometimes she does it late at night when no one's able to take her out... we're still working on that one.

FalloutJack:
So, logically, I can control when and where a dog takes a crap using magnetic fields?

i sense a cunning plan...possibly involving a disliked neighbour and buried electromagnets...

happy_turtle:
This is absolute bollocks. I worked in a free-range kennels for a few years, and the dogs pooped or peed in random places on the various fields. Trust the Germans to study poop and still fail miserably.

Please read.

MarlaDesat:
Dogs prefer alignment along the magnetic north-south axis, but only in periods of calm magnetic field conditions." Solar winds and the magnetic field of the sun can cause instabilities in Earth's magnetic field, including geomagnetic storms. Minor instabilities may disrupt your pooch's bathroom habits, but major ones can cause telecommunications blackouts. During the study, unstable magnetic field conditions were present 70 percent of the time.

Well, it's one way to get an Ig Nobel.

Sleekit:

FalloutJack:
So, logically, I can control when and where a dog takes a crap using magnetic fields?

i sense a cunning plan...possibly involving a disliked neighbour and buried electromagnets...

By using my sonic screwdriver at setting A-32, I can repel the dog's bum from Earth's magnetic field and send the packet hurtling through the air at some unsuspecting passerby. Gentlemen, I present to you the instant dog cannon, preferably used on something large like a Mastiff or a Great Dane.

Houseman:
My dog must be broken. He walks when he poops. He takes the squat stance, but he keeps on walking, mostly in circles.

I think you need to upgrade the firmware.

Maybe dogs don't orient themselves according to magnetic fields, but choose the side of something that is dry. If I had to poop next to a tree or in high grass, I would choose a spot that wouldn't make me wet. Or maybe they prefer the moist side for some reason, or a spot with the most growth to hide their poop.

This is almost as interesting as hippo castration.

The study is a load of DS.

The paper shows a clear bias, where the authors are trying to justify their chosen conclusion from the start rather than discussing the actual evidence. Just for starters, they examined multiple variables, which introduces "degrees of freedom" that allows all sorts of biases to creep in. They even state in the paper that they didnt get the result they wanted, so they changed their method - they pretty much say straight out that the first statistical analysis they tried didnt show anything so they tried a different one to get a result.

This isnt even remotely newsworthy unless or until a better, more reliable replication is done.

Great, so when I spend hours in my local park watching dogs poop I'm a weirdo, but when a bunch of Germans do it it's research.

Bloody double standards.

Maybe the dogs were just trying to orient themselves away from the strange scientists and their cameras.

Random question, would an MRI scan really screw up these magnetically sensitive animals?

Caffiene:
Just for starters, they examined multiple variables, which introduces "degrees of freedom" that allows all sorts of biases to creep in. They even state in the paper that they didnt get the result they wanted, so they changed their method - they pretty much say straight out that the first statistical analysis they tried didnt show anything so they tried a different one to get a result.

This. It's a huge red flag. If you just keep throwing analyses at a dataset without taking into account the increasing degrees of freedom, sooner or later you'll "find" a "correlation" just by chance.

Does every damn animal on the planet have the ability to naturally sense magnetic fields but us?!

This is so unfair.

GamerMage:

Icehearted:
That this is an article is dwarfed by this being a study. No, there's no need to pour more funding into our sex robots and hover-cars, that dog's taking a shit and we must know it's secrets.

Agreed, instead of having Deus Ex: Human Revolution level Cybernetics or having Real Life Gundams, we have to pour our research in dogs taking a dump. (Sigh) God...Dang it. /facedesk

How is studying how organic life interacts with magnetic fields, and how they are affected by them, not working towards cybernetics?

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here