Opinion Brief

The science of how dogs drink

Slurping dogs have long been maligned as messy drinkers, but new video evidence shows that pups drink just as elegantly as their feline rivals

The video: Move over, cats. It turns out that dogs are (relatively) sophisticated drinkers, too, according to Harvard University zoologists. Last year, a viral video showcased cats' deft ability to lap up a gravity-defying column of liquid with their tongues. Dogs' tongues, meanwhile, were dismissed as "crude ladles." But a new study, and a "mesmerizing" x-ray video (watch it below), illustrates that dogs drink the same way cats do: Reaching into the liquid with the tips of their tongues, pulling up a long column of liquid, and opening their mouths to capture it before it falls. The main difference: A dog dips its tongue farther into the bowl than a cat does, thus the extra slop.

The reaction: The battle between cats and dogs is far from over, says Ed Young at Discover. But for now, let's call it "a draw." And to think, for all these years, we've been wrong, says Esther Inglis-Arkell at io9: "The dog has been just as much a master of physics as the wily cat ." That said, the cat's neatnik reputation remains intact: "A dog bowl usually looks like the aftermath of a localized rainstorm." Watch the canine slurp process:

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