Bow-lingual Dogs, Navel Lint Win Dubious Ig Nobel Prizes

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SAN FRANCISCO - Ever wonder why belly button lint tends to be blue? Curious about scrotum symmetry in ancient statues? Want to know what Fido is really trying to say? What's the area of an elephant?

The answers to these probing questions are included in research honored this week by the irreverent and quirky science magazine "Annals of Improbable Research."

The 12th annual "Ig Nobel Prizes," are awarded to scientific achievements that "cannot or should not be reproduced."

The awards are presented in the week before the real Nobel prizes are announced.

Karl Kruszelnicki, a physicist, TV and radio science reporter and fellow at the University of Sydney, won an award for his profound research into an area previously untouched by lab researchers - belly button lint (BBL).

His statistical survey of 4,799 people found that "you're more likely to have BBL if you're male, older, hairy and have an innie."

Researchers in Japan were presented with the peace award for "promoting peace and harmony between the species" by inventing a computer-based dog-to-human language translation device, called "Bow-Lingual."

Researchers in India won an award for their analytical report on "Estimation of the Total Surface Area in Indian Elephants."

A psychology professor at University College of London was honored for his scrutiny of another mammal's anatomy.

Chris McManus, received an award for "his excruciatingly balanced report" titled "Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Sculpture." The study was published in Nature magazine.