Dogs Poop in Alignment with Earth’s Magnetic Field
By Chad Upton | Editor
In case you don’t know, the Earth is basically one giant magnet. That’s why a compass always points to magnetic North. This is extremely useful for navigation and other location based activities.
Apparently, dogs also find it useful for pooping.
Photo: Scott Spaeth (cc)
Scientists recently published a paper describing their observations and analysis of the direction that dogs poop. For two years they monitored 70 dogs and recorded the axis upon which they defecate.
Having walked my dogs thousands of times, I can’t say I ever noticed a correlation between the Earth’s magnetic field and the direction they built a log cabin. That being said, I never paid that much attention to the plot or azimuth.
What’s interesting is that the Earth’s magnetic field moves over time as the Earth’s core changes. More interesting, these changes affect how dogs (and some other mammals) align themselves when it’s 2 o’clock. During times when the magnetic field is fluctuating, anything goes. But, when the magnetic field is stable, their direction of choice is predictable.
Why dogs do this — that’s still a mystery, and it’ll probably take more than two years to figure that out.
Although it’s not described in the paper, I would like to suggest that this amazing sense of direction may explain why lost dogs often find their way home from great distances. Also, if you’ve ever had to calibrate a digital compass, you’ll know you have to turn it in circles a number of times. Perhaps, this need for magnetic calibration also explains why some dogs turn in circles before pooping or laying down.
As for humans, there hasn’t been any study. But, don’t be surprised if your feng shui consultant recommends North facing toilets from now on.
Sources: Frontiers in Zoology