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Published: Friday January 10, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday January 10, 2014 MYT 8:46:39 AM

Doggy-do points the way

GERMAN and Czech researchers studying squatting dogs doing their business have found the pooches have an “inner compass” that may help explain how they find their way home over great distances.

When the four-legged friends stop during a walk to defecate or urinate, they tend to do so along a north-south axis, provided the Earth’s magnetic field is stable at the time, the scientists said last week. There was no notable difference in magneto-sensitivity among breeds, which ranged from a tiny Yorkshire terrier to a large St Bernard, said team member Dr Sabine Begall of Germany’s Duisburg-Essen University.

“We found that the dogs are wonderfully aligned north-to-south – somewhat more so when they defecate than when they urinate – but only when the magnetic field is stable,” Begall said.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers In Zoology, the 10-member Czech and German research team asked 37 dog owners equipped with compasses over two years to record which way their total of 70 furry friends faced when they relieve themselves.

The findings are another clue that animals can sense electromagnetic waves not noticed by humans, and that dogs, aside from their sharp senses of hearing and smell, also have a “magnetic sense”. – AFP

Tags / Keywords: Science & Technology, Science, nature, dogs, inner compass

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