Dogs do it, too, while they pee and poo

A dog in the earth’s magnetic field.

Hurray! The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize in Biology goes to a group of researchers led by Hynek Burda from the Department of General Zoology of my faculty, and including colleagues from the Czech Republic. The performance of team members Sabine Begall and Pascal Malkemper at the awards ceremony was breathtaking, literally (you know what I mean if you watch the life webcast after about 52 min). But now a bit about the science. After having found previously preferential alignment with the earth’s magnetic field in grazing cattle, deer, and foxes, they have now studied dogs (see publication). Specifically, they collected thousands of observations of dogs defecating, urinating, and marking their territories, and then correlated the orientation of the dogs with the magnetic field. A statistical analysis showed that dogs indeed also preferentially align with the magnetic field in these situations — if the magnetic weather is calm. So, if you have lost your compass while hiking, watch man’s best friend in the morning, and you regain your orientation. Of course, only if the magnetic weather is calm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Anti-Spam by WP-SpamShield