Vice Motherboard reports
the international study, published
in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Frontiers in Zoology, found that "dogs prefer to excrete with the body being aligned along the north-south axis under calm MF (magnetic field) conditions."
Some 70 dogs, representing 37 different breeds, were observed over the course of two years' worth of defecation. The dedicated researchers doggedly analyzed 1,893 steaming poop piles and 5,582 pee puddles before reaching their surprising conclusion. But why do dogs align themselves just so when they do their business? It turns out that's still a mystery.
"It is still enigmatic why the dogs do align at all, whether they do it 'consciously'... or whether its reception is controlled on the vegetative level," the study states. "Our analysis of the raw data indicates that dogs not only prefer north-south direction, but at the same time they also avoid east-west direction."
Man's best friend is far from the only creature that is sensitive to the earth's magnetic field. Salmon use the earth's magnetism to make their way back
from the open ocean to the freshwater spawning grounds from whence they hatched. Birds use magnetism to navigate
during migrations. Ants have also been found to possess innate directional "knowledge"
due to magnetic sensitivity. Cattle and deer also graze
on a north-south axis.