From the "They Have Too Much Time On Their Hands" Department

Guess what I do now when my dog poops. Ugg.

Guess what I do now when my dog poops. Ugg.

Dogs align their bodies along a North-South axis when they poop

Ever wonder why dogs need to get themselves into just the right position to do their business? As it turns out, dogs align their body axis according to Earth’s magnetic field when they squat to poop—a behavior that changes when the magnetic field is unstable. But why do they do it?
The results of this recently published paper from Frontiers in Zoology sound goofy, but the takeaway is all in the title, “Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth’s magnetic field.”The researchers measured the direction of the body axis of 70 different dogs while they were off-leash during 1,893 acts of defecation and 5,582 acts of urination over a two-year period. They found that, under calm magnetic field conditions, dogs prefer to orient their bodies along the North-South axis when they poop. However, this behavior did not occur during unstable magnetic field conditions, and the best predictor for this change of behavior was the rate of change of magnetic declination.
This means that the dogs are responding to changes in the polarity of the magnetic field rather than changes in intensity. It’s that change in behavior that has the authors of this paper particularly excited, since it’s the first time, according to the paper, that magnetic sensitivity has been proven in dogs and that a predictable behavioral reaction from natural magnetic field fluctuations has been unambiguously observed in mammals.
The question that this inevitably invites is: why on Earth do dogs do this? The paper notes that it’s not just that dogs prefer to align themselves along the North-South axis; they also seem toavoid the East-West axis when they poop, although it’s not clear whether they do so consciously. The researchers suggest that perhaps, when dogs poop, they are also taking the opportunity to orient themselves:

An answer may lie in the biological meaning of the behavior: if dogs would use a visual (radical-pair based) magnetic map to aid general orientation in space as has been proposed for rodents [32], they might have the need to center/calibrate the map now and then with regard to landmarks or a magnetic reference. Aligning the map and the view towards North (or South) facilitates reading the map. Furthermore, calibration only makes sense when the reference is stable and reliable. We might think of this the same way as a human is stopping during a hike to read a map. When the map is blurred or the reference (perceived magnetic direction) is dispersed or moving due to magnetic disturbances, however, calibration is impossible. In the case of the dogs it thus would totally make sense to not pay attention to magnetic body alignment any more under conditions of a shifting magnetic field.

Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth’s magnetic field [Frontiers in Zoology via Neatorama]
Original dog photograph by Joshua Ganderson. Original compass photograph by Calsidyrose.
~Steve~                                                        H/T    My Beautiful Wife.
https://io9.com/dogs-align-their-bodies-along-a-north-south-axis-when-t-1493457072

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Dr. Eowyn
Admin
Dr. Eowyn
6 years ago

HA HA HA HA! Steve, your title for this post is PERFECT!
Now what are we to do with the info that dogs align themselves N-S when they poop? LOL

Richard M Nixon (Deceased)

Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society.

swampygirl7
6 years ago

And they think this is important……….. because…………………………….? People loosing their homes and going hungry and they still spend money on “crap” like this!

swampygirl7
6 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Oh no Steve…..it really did not bother me. It was something you just shake your head about. I even made did a play on words by using the word “crap” in my post 🙂

surfercajun
surfercajun
6 years ago
surfercajun
surfercajun
6 years ago
Reply to  Steve

THANKS! That means a lot coming form you! 🙂

Gunny G
6 years ago

Reblogged this on BLOGGING BAD ~ DICK.G: AMERICAN ! and commented:
Gunny G!

joandarc
joandarc
6 years ago

Thank you Steve for this hilarious post. Our dog doesn’t like anyone to watch her go potty. If you look at her whilst she is going, she gives you a dirty look.

Bruce
Bruce
6 years ago

Swampygirl, we need to know this so after the politicians we currently have in office finish destroying the Great United States of America, and we are all homeless and wandering around looking for food and shelter, we will know which direction is North or South. As I did not see where they stated that dogs always face North or South, it just stated on the axis of North and South. Therefore when wandering around after the first few times we the people will be able to complete this scientific study and be able to state that dogs face North while… Read more »

swampygirl7
6 years ago

I applaud you Bruce…a very entertaining post and dripping with superb sarcasm, which I always find very enjoyable 🙂

swampygirl7
6 years ago

And might I add that there appears to be no shortage of other talented sarcastic people here at FOTM which is one of the things that first attracted me to this site. I have always considered sarcasm to be a sign of
intelligence as in critical thinking and it also reveals good creative writing
abilities….keep it flowing you’ll 🙂

Dennis H Bennett
Dennis H Bennett
6 years ago

Our Maltese (Toby) circles, paces back and forth, then s%&ts on the closest inanimate object. I think he was born in Kenya.

Mike
6 years ago

HA HA HA HA HA!