Category Archives: Animals

Dog Detectors. Now Dogs Can Nail You With Covid-19

The sense of smell in dogs is unparalleled, which is even more sensitive than the most advanced man-made instrument. They possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in humans.

Once trained, medical detection dogs are able to smell metabolic changes to people’s breath and sweat. Their sense of smell can even be more accurate than conventional COVID-19 tests.

The United Arab Emirates has 38 sniffer dogs working at its airports that can identify infected persons at a 98.2% success rate. Police trained the dogs to recognize the scent of COVID-19 using samples of sweat from people with confirmed infections, collected by holding a swab in an armpit for a few minutes.

Several other countries including Finland, the United States and France have also been running their own dog training and trials of canine detection of COVID-19.

Ref: https://beta.ctvnews.ca/national/coronavirus/2021/9/16/1_5587914.html

 

A Whiff of Trouble

Research shows that hummingbirds have an active sense of smell and can smell their way out of danger while hunting for nectar. This is due to in part to their large olfactory bulbs, which is the tissue in the brain that controls smell.

For their experiments, scientists observed more than a hundred hummingbirds in the wild and in aviaries. The birds were given the choice between two feeders, either sugar water or sugar water plus one of several chemicals whose scent signaled the presence of an insect.

Results show that the hummingbirds avoided the water with the acid and that they can use their sense of smell to avoid danger while foraging for food.

Ref: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/09/210906091001.htm

 

Rex is Running on Dog Time

Humans respond to what we call a circadian rhythm where we mark passage of time over the course of the day using cues like light or darkness.

There are historical examples of timekeeping abilities in dogs. Perhaps one of the most famous is Hachiko, an Akita owned by Dr. Eisaburo Ueno, a professor at Tokyo University. Hachiko accompanied his master to the train station each day to see him off. He would then leave only to return to the station each afternoon in time to greet his master. One afternoon, Professor Ueno did not return—he had died in Tokyo. Hachiko waited at the station until midnight. The next day, and every day for nearly 10 years thereafter, Hachiko came to the Shibuya station at exactly the right time to meet the train which his master always used to arrive on.

Alexandra Horowitz, a psychologist from Barnard College in New York City, believes that she has the answer. She suggests that dogs may well be smelling time changes. As an example, she points out that many dogs can tell which way to follow a scent trail by deciding to travel from where it is weakest (oldest) to where it is strongest (most recent) even though the degree of change in scent intensity might be very tiny over the distance of a dozen or so steps. Since stronger odors are often newer and weaker ones are older, that means that when dogs smell weak odors they are perceiving events of the past.

Take your home environment, when you walk out of the door in the morning, the intensity of your scent in the house decreases with each hour that you are gone. It is possible that your dog has learned, through simple repetition, that when your odor has weakened to a specific level, this is when you usually come through the door. In other words, the strength of your residual smell in the house is what is predicting the time when you return home.

Research here at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/canine-corner/201911/can-dogs-smell-time

Why do newborn babies smell SO GOOD?

Why do infants smell so good?!

Newborn babies are born with powerful mechanisms to survive in this cruel, cruel world. Their appealing features like big eyes, fat cheeks and wide foreheads with small mouths and noses are what captures our attention. These traits drive adults to care for them despite their flaws – like the late night feeding or explosive diapers which eventually leads the adults to be sleep-deprived.

Then, there’s the new-baby smell that wins it all (ugh!). There is no definite answer to this but researchers mentioned that the appealing smell is extracted from the chemicals exuded from a baby’s sweat glands. According to them, the smell can only lasts for as long as six weeks due to the changes in the baby’s metabolism level when they begin eating and drinking on their own. Another theory mentioned that the smell helps them to bond with their mothers which triggers maternal feelings of love.

Until when do these smells last?

The situation changes once they turn into teenagers, where they tend to smell less appealing. During these years, a study found that their off-putting scent once they enter puberty encourages their parents to keep their distance and help them become self-sufficient.

The notion of newborns smelling so good (like SUPER GOOD) is linearly related to the mother’s highly developed sense of smell, as she is prone to perceiving her child’s developmental stage through a sniff.

 

 

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