6 Crazy Studies You Had No Idea Existed

Science types go to great lengths to answer weird questions.
6 Crazy Studies You Had No Idea Existed

Human beings don't like uncertainty. So really, it was only a matter of time before someone calculated the answers to questions like "What's the value of Princess Peach's castle?" or "How much wood could a woodchuck actually chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" But then there are the sort of science-researchy types who go to great lengths to answer weird-ass questions we never even knew we had. For example ...

Is There A Logic Behind The Direction Dogs Face When They Poop?

A team of scientists / dog lovers / pooping enthusiasts from Germany and the Czech Republic decided it was important to know which direction dogs face when they take a dump. How was this groundbreaking and deeply scientific study conducted? By watching a literal crapload of dog turds. For two years, they observed 70 dogs of 37 different breeds while they were doing their business, documenting a grand total of 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations. For science. Remember that the next time you think letting your dog outside is an inconvenience.

While those involved in the study definitely got the shitty end of the research stick, all that dog poop did yield an interesting factoid. The scientists determined that dogs "preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-South axis under calm MF (magnetic field) conditions." In other words, dogs like to face North or South when they take a dump or a whizz. The research proves that dogs are sensitive to the Earth's magnetic field, whether they know it or not. Who needs a compass when you've got a dog's ass?

And while we're talking about this fascinating field of study ...

Do Smaller Dogs Lift Their Legs Higher When They Pee?

Because you can never have too much scientific information about your dog's toilet habits, the good people at Cornell did mankind a favor and decided to study how dogs pee. The team walked a bunch of male dogs of all sizes and took measurements of their urine markings. And since they didn't want to half-ass this thing, researchers also videotaped the dogs as they peed so they could calculate the precise angle at which each dog lifted his leg. Oh sure, when they do it it's "science," but when we do it we're "banned from the park for all eternity."

Not shockingly, they found that the higher a dog lifts his leg to pee, the higher he applies his urine to the object he's taking a whiz on. What's interesting is that smaller dogs consistently lift their legs to a higher angle, thereby depositing their proprietary blend higher on their target object. Since dogs use urine markings to communicate stuff like territory or mating status (it's basically their Tinder profile, but classier), placement of a dog's "product" is important. Researchers believe that smaller dogs place their yellow marks as high as possible to make themselves seem larger and "exaggerate their competitive ability." Whether other dogs buy it or not is unclear. It's the canine equivalent of buying a 4x4. Everyone knows what you're compensating for, buddy.

Does Oral Sex Make Fruit Bats "Last" Longer?

Apparently, somebody once looked at a fruit bat and instead of thinking "eww" or "gross," they thought, "Man, I wonder how they get it on." One thing led to another, and there have now been not one but two studies on how fruit bats like to mix it up while getting down.

Researchers spent two summers watching a colony of fruit bats and just waiting for them to get freaky, eventually documenting 57 mating sessions over 1,170 hours of observation. We went ahead and crunched the numbers, and since fruit bats spend about three and a half minutes doing the deed (as you all know), that's a grand total of 3.3 hours of bat sex ... out of 48.75 days of sitting there watching them be bats. That better be some mind-blowing bat sex right there.

And in a way, it was. Researchers determined that about 70 percent of fruit bat couples engaged in oral sex, and that intercourse for fellating couples lasted twice as long as it did for those who went oral-free. Better still, male fruit bats appear to give as good as they get, often performing cunnilingus both before and after mating. They should feel pretty special too, since aside from certain monkeys and certain humans, only these bats are known to do the ol' 69. Scientists aren't certain why bats are into oral, but they hypothesize that increased duration of intercourse could improve fertility. Or as one researcher put it, "They could just be doing it for fun." The researcher then passive-aggressively left the study on their spouse's desk and crossed their fingers, we're guessing.

Are There Any Negative Side Effects To Swallowing A Sword?

Yes, we're talking about an actual metal sword here -- we're only allowed one entry on oral sex. Still, the porn industry should find the following findings particularly useful.

This groundbreaking study determined that there are, in fact, side effects to putting a sword down your esophagus, and they're probably exactly what you'd imagine them to be. Researchers contacted 110 members of the Sword Swallowers' Association International, 46 of whom consented to take part in the study (the rest just made strange coughing noises). This produced all sorts of interesting statistics, like how many swords these people swallow at once (as many as 16), how long these swords are (up to 31 inches), and the average age at which people learn to swallow swords (25 years old).

Chris Johnson/Adobe Stock
It's not too late to switch majors, college guys!

Researchers also found that the most common side effect is ... a sore throat. Pain in the chest and lungs were also commonly reported, and most injuries occurred when the swallower was "distracted" or swallowing new or oddly-shaped blades. Shockingly, nobody in the SSAI has died, but six people in the study reported tearing their pharynx or esophagus, and three had to have surgery on their necks. Three participants reported sword-swallowing-related medical bills ranging from $23,000 to $70,000. Since we're guessing insurance isn't going to cover injuries you inflict on yourself by voluntarily swallowing sharp objects, you may want to factor that in if you decide to take this up as a hobby.

Why Does Coffee Spill When We Walk With It?

In 2012, the U.S. government paid a cool $170,000 to UC Santa Barbara to study why coffee spills when you walk with it, presumably as a way to settle the world's most expensive office bet. In the end, this scholastic masterpiece took us to new heights of understanding, revealing that coffee spills when you walk with it because of "interplay between the complex motion of a cup, due to the biomechanics of a walking individual, and the low-viscosity-liquid dynamics in it." In other words, your body moves when you walk, and coffee isn't a solid so it sloshes. But 170k also buys you some nifty charts, so if you need a visual depiction of why coffee spills, here you go:

Experimental setup: bits and pieces senal distane Bean sulbjeet estraiicht lime path (walkiar) 221 plane otion (ellee Cup) Coffee mus geometry Filming
Krechetnikov Fluid Physics Laboratory, UC Santa Barbara
It's government-funded, so spilling hot coffee on yourself earns you a Purple Heart.

Despite being stupid expensive, the study was woefully lacking in recommendations for reducing coffee loss. Fortunately, there's been some additional research on spills, and one study has some solid ideas for keeping your Joe in the cup, most of which will make you look like a complete dork. You can start by strapping the cup to your waist, which eliminates much of the motion that causes sloshing. You can also walk backwards, or order a drink with lots and lots of foam, since that subdues the motion of the liquid underneath it. You could also drink your coffee from a wine glass, which will probably get you some strange looks -- and possibly a referral to AA -- but should greatly reduce spillage. And finally: Just use a freaking lid.

WTF Is Up With Homosexual Duck Necrophilia?

An ornithologist by the name of Kees Moeliker was working at Rotterdam's Natural History Museum when he heard the distinctive crashing sound of a duck flying into the glass building. The duck was killed on impact, which is actually the happy part of this story, believe it or not.

So Moeliker was looking out the window at the "obviously dead" duck, as one does, when he witnessed as a second male mallard came around, pecked at the dead male "for about two minutes, then mounted the corpse and started to copulate, with great force, almost continuously pecking the side of the head." Like most people, Moeliker was "rather startled" by the complete and utter dumpster fire unfolding before his eyes. Unlike most people, instead of running away screaming, Moeliker couldn't pass up the opportunity to document what was unfolding. He proceeded to watch the duck for 75 minutes, take notes, and " some photographs" while the live duck "almost continuously copulated" with its dead counterpart.

a b Figure 2 a Drake mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) in full breeding plumage (left) next to the dead drake mallard (NMR 9997-00232) just after collision
Cornelis W Moeliker
"Oh god, this is horrible! Can you do him from the other angle now?"

The assault only ended once Moeliker managed to emerge from his can't-look-away-from-a-car-crash stupor and run off the live duck. As for why this may have happened, it appears forced mating isn't uncommon among mallard ducks, nor are same-sex couples, with up to one in ten mallard pairs being homosexual. On the other hand, this is the only known case of duck necrophilia, gay or straight, at least according to The Guardian (we're not gonna Google it). So if you see two ducks going at it, stop to check their pulses. Who knows, you might earn yourself a spot in the annals of ornithology history. Anyway, here's a dog eating pizza:

Get some biodegradable bags and please clean up after your dogs.

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For more, check out The 6 Most Intriguing Stupid Questions Answered By Science and 5 Stupid Questions You Won't Believe Scientists Answered.

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