Dogs have a perfect sense of smell, thanks to which they are able to orientate themselves in space and sniff out anything. However, scientists have proven that on trips, when they have to get to the starting point by themselves, not only smell helps them, but also the ability to perceive the magnetic field and use it as a compass. Does this sound like science fiction? Let's explain it a little better.
Dogs' noses can quite easily recognize cancer, fear, covid-19 and the smell of their master. These are facts that can be logically understood. On the other hand, their ability to perceive magnetic fields is like something from the script of the movie The Sixth Sense. It should be noted that her not only dogs have them, but also other animals such as birds, whales, dolphins, turtles or even bees.
But how did the scientists figure it out? Already in 2013 and 2016, several studies were published that found that dog eyes contain a light-sensitive molecule that responds to magnetic fields when simultaneously stimulated by light. Last year, scientists at the Czech University of Life Sciences continued their research and discovered in experiments how the ability to perceive magnetic fields affects the behavior of dogs. In this study, they chose to focus on hunting dogs because they have the best orientation skills. 2 7 dogs of 10 different breeds were equipped with GPS locators and collected data from a total of 622 walks in which the dog was left alone at a certain point and was supposed to return home on its own. The paths the dogs took were then the subject of study.
HOW DID IT END UP?
In 399 cases, the dogs used their sense of smell to return and followed their scent to the starting point.
But in 233 cases they returned by a new route . "As soon as the dog finished following the trail of game and decided to return, it did not head straight for the owner, as one would expect, but began a short run along the north-south magnetic axis," Kateřina Benediktová from the Department of Hunting and Forestry Zoology describes the result of the research in an interview for idnes.cz The Faculty of Forestry and Woodwork of the CZU in Prague.
"We assume that this 'alignment' of the route according to the axis helps dogs orientate their mental map of the surrounding environment and subsequently determine the correct direction to the owner," explains the scientist.
But no one he has not yet demonstrated how dogs perceive magnetic fields . Whether it is by smell, sight or hearing. Anyway, this finding just confirms that our four-legged darlings still have something to surprise us with. Who knows, maybe they'll finally start talking.