In one of the more interesting recent scientific discoveries, a study has revealed a startling fact about the way dogs relieve themselves. According to the study, dogs instinctively align themselves with the Earth's magnetic field (MF) when they poop.
Researchers from the University of Life Sciences in Prague conducted the study. To ensure accuracy, the study also involved monitoring dogs from a wide variety of breeds and it seems apparent that the characteristic is shared by most of our canine friends.
The study indicates that dogs naturally align themselves with the Earth's North-South line as long as the magnetic field remains in a normal condition.
During times when the Earth's magnetic field becomes unstable due to factors like solar flares however, dogs may become confused and end up relieving themselves off-axis, so to speak. While the study does state this explicitly, it seems that dogs pooping at seemingly random directions may be a good indicator that a solar flare is ongoing.
"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," says the study.
"Our findings open new horizons in magnetoreception research, Since the MF is calm in only about 20% of the daylight period, our findings might provide an explanation why many magnetoreception experiments were hardly replicable and why directional values of records in diverse observations are frequently compromised by scatter," the study adds.
Many animals are known to possess acute sensitivity to the planet's electromagnetic field. Many species of migratory birds, for example, use the Earth's MF to navigate and find their way across vast expanses of oceans. However, this is the first time that this specific characteristic has been measured in controlled circumstances for mammals.
The study also brings up the interesting question of whether there are other animals that exhibit specific behavioral reactions to fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field. If so, perhaps future studies will also shed more light on the subject.