The ability of animals to sense and align themselves to the Earth's magnetic field is quite common in migratory animals like birds, whales, insects, and even bacteria; but leave it to dogs to add a new twist. Scientists at the University of Life Sciences in Prague wondered if domesticated animals were also reactive to the magnetic field. After several years of testing, the data strongly concluded that when dogs eliminate their waste, their bodies align to the North-South axis under calm magnetic field conditions, and altogether avoid the East-West axis. However, under geomagnetic excursion periods, or a short-lived shift in magnetic intensity, the behavior is absent. After ruling out such factors as wind, time of day, season, and angle of the sun, research concluded that dogs are highly sensitive to subtle polarity shifts. An example of this would be a solar flare; during such an event, the Earth's magnetic field becomes unstable. Dogs were consistently observed demonstrating confusion, which resulted in indecisive potty behavior.
The conclusions of this study likely result in future research to expand scientific understanding of the natural biorhythms between animals and the planet through magnetoception, or the manner in which organisms are able to use the magnetic field as a means of allocating direction or location. The thoroughness of this study provides evidence that mammals have a predictable reaction and inherent sensitivity towards the magnetic field of the planet. Further, the evolution of this research could also help explain the function of magnetic bones found in humans. While the fun fallout of this experiment might result in people going to a dog park with a compass and watching dogs make doo-doo, the implications of this research potentially tips our present understanding of behavioral science and bio physiology on its end.
This is Deb Duxbury, for Animal Life, reminding you to please spay or neuter your pet.