A team of European scientists with way too much time on its hands has discovered that dogs tend to position themselves in alignment with the earth’s magnetic field before they take every big, steamy dump.
The Czech and German researchers committed two years of their professional lives to the longitudinal study of canine crap, reports The Christian Science Monitor. The point was to determine magnetic sensitivity in dogs—at least when they poop.
The proud scientists say the findings “open new horizons for biomagnetic research.”
There were 37 dog owners in Germany and the Czech Republic involved in the study. There were 70 dogs. The owners doggedly (har, har) measured the direction of their canines’ spines when they ate, rested, urinated and defecated.
There were 7,475 discrete pooping and peeing events. All of them happened outside. The exact breakdown, if you must know, was 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations.
Based on the observations, the insightful scientists concluded that the dogs prefer to pinch their canine loaves “aligned along the North-south axis” when magnetic field conditions are calm, according to National Public Radio.
The scientists say the wealth of data suggests that dogs actively try to avoid pooping on the dreaded east-west axis, or when the magnetic field is not calm. The phenomenon, they say, explains why dogs sometimes hesitate, look very worried and circle around bizarrely before finally just squatting down and doing their business.
Previous researchers have found that other mammals including rats, bats and cattle are sensitive to their position relative to the earth’s magnetic field. It’s not clear, however, if these animals poop based on magnetism.
Why do dogs act this way? “It is still enigmatic,” the Czech and German poop scientists admit, according to the Monitor.
The researchers are associated with the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany and the Czech University of Life Sciences. They published their cutting-edge findings in a journal called Frontiers in Zoology.