BEIJING, Jan. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- Scientists from the Czech Republic have found that dogs exhibited a very clear inclination to defecate with their bodies aligned in a North-South stance.
Intrigued by the growing list of animals that appear to have a magnetic sensitivity, the scientists focused on dogs to see if they too have any such abilities.
After some initial observations, they began to notice a pattern of behavior related to stance during defecation -- that was enough to embark on some field studies.
The field studies were conducted in an open field so as to ensure that the dogs weren't being impacted by familiar surroundings -- in all 70 dogs (37 breeds) were observed circling and defecating for a total of 1,893 times.
The dogs were found to prefer to defecate while in a North-South stance relative to the Earth's axis.
But the researchers also found that freedom was a factor -- dogs on leashes didn't appear to have as much of an inclination to align themselves in any particular direction as did dogs who were allowed to roam free in a field as they did their business.
Researchers suggested that the dogs might simply feel more comfortable to align themselves in a particular direction when defecating.
They also found that they tended to intentionally avoid crouching in an East-West alignment, perhaps finding it the most uncomfortable of all.
The study is the first to conclusively show that dogs have magnetic sensitivity.
Dogs likely originate in Europe more than 18,000 years ago: study
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- European and U.S. researchers said Thursday that wolves likely were domesticated by European hunter-gatherers more than 18,000 years ago and gradually evolved into dogs that became household pets.
The researchers studied 10 ancient "wolf-like" animals and eight "dog-like" animals, mostly from Europe to explore the evolutionary history of dogs. They compared mitochondrial DNA, a powerful tool for tracking ancestry, of the animals, which ranged from 1,000 to 36,000 years old, to similar sequences in modern animals: 77 dogs from a wide assortment of breeds, 49 wolves, and four coyotes. Full story