It’s official. Dogs poop and wee in non-random directions, taking their cue from the Earth’s magnetic field:
Several mammalian species spontaneously align their body axis with respect to the Earth’s magnetic field (MF) lines in diverse behavioral contexts…With this in mind we searched for signs of magnetic alignment in dogs. We measured the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs of 37 breeds during defecation (1,893 observations) and urination (5,582 observations) over a two-year period… Directional preferences of dogs under different MF conditions were analyzed and tested by means of circular statistics. Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm MF conditions. This directional behavior was abolished under Unstable MF. The best predictor of the behavioral switch was the rate of change in declination, i.e., polar orientation of the MF… Our findings open new horizons in magnetoreception research.
Unfortunately, the effects arise only “under calm MF conditions“, which is the case only 20% of the time. So 8 out of 10 excretions are uninfluenced by magnetic radiation.
I sense a new paradigm for undergraduate project proposals. Maybe there are gender differences?
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.