Jan 02, 2014 04:12 PM EST
Dogs Align Themselves With The Earth's Magnetic Field When Pooping
Scientists have found that dogs across a variety of breeds align their body axis with the Earth's magnetic field before squatting to poop, Fox News reported.
In the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, researchers from Czech University of Life Sciences in the Czech Republic and the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany found that dogs were sensitive to the polarity of the field.
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Over the course of a two-year period, researchers observed 70 dogs out of 37 different breeds, including beagles, dachshunds and Yorkshire terriers, aligning their body along the north-south axis under calm magnetic field conditions when relieving themselves.
Researchers said the behavior did not occur under unstable conditions and it is still a mystery why dogs excrete this way, Fox News reported.
"It is still enigmatic why the dogs do align at all, whether they do it 'consciously' ... or whether its reception is controlled on the vegetative level (they 'feel better/more comfortable or worse/less comfortable' in a certain direction)," researchers wrote in the study. "Our analysis of the raw data ... indicates that dogs not only prefer north-south direction, but at the same time they also avoid east-west direction."
It is unclear why the dogs find the planet's north-south axis more comforting.
According to Fox News, the study is the first to prove that dogs are sensitive to Earth's magnetic field.
Dogs aren't the only ones with magnetic sensitivity. Cattle also align themselves on the north-south axis to graze, while Salmon use their sense of the Earth's magnetism to find their way back to the spawning grounds where they were born. Birds and sea turtles use it to travel.
In their study, researchers said they were "inspired by our hitherto observations in other animals."