Do dogs align their bodies with the Earth's axis when they cock their legs? Canines found to be affected by magnetic fields
- Study finds dogs align their bodies to the north-south axis when defecating
- This only happens when the magnetic field is what’s called ‘stable’
- When 'unstable', such as during solar flares, dogs abandon this behaviour
- Previous studies have shown magnetic fields impact the behaviour of birds
- Yet researchers across these studies don't know why animals act this way
You may be forgiven in thinking your dog randomly chooses where it goes to the toilet, but new research suggests their choices could be influenced by a far greater force.
According to a Czech study, dogs not only align their bodies with the Earth’s north-south axis when going to the toilet, but this position can be affected by the slightest of fluctuations in the planet’s magnetic field.
The researchers found that in the morning, dogs tended to position their bodies towards the west, but would then shift to an easterly direction in the afternoon.
According to a Czech study, dogs not only align their bodies with the Earth's north-south axis when going to the toilet, this position can be affected by fluctuations in the magnetic field. The researchers found in the morning dogs tended to position their bodies towards the west, but would shift to an easterly direction in the afternoon
ARE OTHER ANIMALS AFFECTED BY THE MAGNETIC FIELD?
However, this only happened when the magnetic field was what’s called ‘stable’ - when it sits along the existing axis and isn’t fluctuating.
The magnetic field can become ‘unstable’ during solar flares, for example, and when this happened the dogs' positions were more random.
To test their theory, researchers from the Czech University of Life Sciences studied the body positions of 70 dogs across 37 breeds as they went to the toilet on walks.
In total they recorded 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations over a period of two years.
They also studied the changes in the Earth’s magnetic field during that time to see if the positions, and any changes in position, correlated with fluctuations in the axis.
By studying different breeds, the researchers were able to rule out the possibility that positions were unique to certain species.
They also ruled out that the time of day, and therefore the position of the sun, played a part because they studied the dogs over different seasons when the sun’s position in the sky varied.
However, this only happened when the magnetic field was what's called 'stable' - when it sits along the existing axis and isn't fluctuating. The magnetic field can become 'unstable' when affected by solar flares, pictured, for example, and when this happened the dogs' positions were more random
The findings have been published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology.
In conclusion they found the dogs in the study preferred to 'excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm magnetic field conditions.'
At times when there were fluctuations in the field, this behaviour was ‘abolished’.
A total of 50 animal species are said to use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation, including birds, pictured
The behaviour was also only observed in dogs that were outside and off their leash.
However, the researchers admit they don't know why the dogs behave in this way.
Previous studies have discovered the Earth’s magnetic field can also affect the behaviour and orientation of birds, bees and whales.
A total of 50 animal species are said to use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation and the migration of birds is often observed along the planet’s axis.
One theory, that attempts to explain this migration, suggests that photoreceptors in a bird's retina absorb light, which in turn creates a chemical reaction that makes it possible for the birds to orient themselves using magnets.
According to the Czech researchers: ‘Natural fluctuations of the Earth’s magnetic field have previously been suggested to disturb orientation in birds, bees and whales, and even to affect vegetative functions and behavior in humans.
‘In this study, we provide the first clear and simply measurable evidence for influence of geomagnetic field variations on mammal behavior. Furthermore, it is the first demonstration of the effect of the shift of declination, which has to our knowledge never been investigated before.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2532776/Do-dogs-align-bodies-Earths-axis-going-toilet-Canines-affected-magnetic-fields.html#ixzz2pHYejAmJ
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