Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dogs sense small variations in Earth's magnetic field, new research suggests

Date:
January 3, 2014
Source:
Universität Duisburg-Essen
Summary:
Researchers analyzed the body orientation of 70 dogs of different breeds, while the dogs relieved themselves in the open country and without being on the leash. The statistical analysis of the more than 7,000 observations was initially frustrating. But then the researchers made a striking discovery.

Dogs prefer a body-alignment along the magnetic north-south axis, but only during periods of calm magnetic field conditions.
Credit: © Dogs / Fotolia

Researchers analyzed the body orientation of 70 dogs of different breeds, while the dogs relieved themselves in the open country and without being on the leash. The statistical analysis of the more than 7,000 observations (recorded together with the currently prevailing environmental conditions of the location, time of day and other important parameters such as the familiarity of the terrain for each dog) was frustrating.

In contrast to grazing cows, hunting foxes and landing waterfowl (previous studies of the research collective), the dogs showed no clear preference for a particular body alignment while urinating or defecating.

But then the researchers working with Dr. Vlastimil Hart and Prof. Dr. Hynek Burda made a striking discovery. They sorted the collected data according to the small variations of the geomagnetic field during the period of data collection. These irregular, tiny changes in the intensity and declination of the magnetic field lines are recorded by magnetic observatories and freely accessible online. The emerging picture of the analysis of the categorized data was surprising: dogs prefer a body-alignment along the magnetic north-south axis, but only during periods of calm magnetic field conditions. After taking into account all other factors, the researchers concluded that with this discovery they provide clear indication of a magnetic sense in dogs.

To many dog owners who know about the good navigation abilities of their pets, the findings might not come as a surprise – but rather as an explanation for the "supernatural" abilities, although it is not clear to the researchers what the dogs might use their magnetic sense for. For the scientific community the findings could be of tremendous value since the magnetic sense of animals is still not well understood, despite all the research on migratory birds. The new findings offer new perspectives, which the researchers will pursue in upcoming projects.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universität Duisburg-Essen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vlastimil Hart, Petra Nováková, Erich Pascal Malkemper, Sabine Begall, Vladimír Hanzal, Miloš Ježek, Tomáš Kušta, Veronika Němcová, Jana Adámková, Kateřina Benediktová, Jaroslav Červený, Hynek Burda. Dogs are sensitive to small variations of the Earth's magnetic field. Frontiers in Zoology, 2013; 10 (1): 80 DOI: 10.1186/1742-9994-10-80

Cite This Page:

Universität Duisburg-Essen. "Dogs sense small variations in Earth's magnetic field, new research suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140103085246.htm>.
Universität Duisburg-Essen. (2014, January 3). Dogs sense small variations in Earth's magnetic field, new research suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140103085246.htm
Universität Duisburg-Essen. "Dogs sense small variations in Earth's magnetic field, new research suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140103085246.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) — Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) — An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins