Dogs are pretty extraordinary animals when you think about it.
Far from their wild, wolf-like origins, they’re now a staple of millions of households around the world, like the perfect fluffy family member we all wished we had.
They also have their fair share of talents and natural abilities which, in many ways, render them as far superior to humans!
A Dog’s Sense Of Smell
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, detecting distant aromas from places that are often too far for us to see.
Whether it’s something buried in the grass in the middle of the park or the arrival of a takeaway two doors down, they’re always the first to know, all thanks to their incredible senses.
We know that it’s a thing, but what causes a dog’s sense of smell to be so good?
How Good Is A Dog’s Sense Of Smell?
A dog’s sense of smell is, according to scientists, between 10,000 – 100,000 times better than a human’s.
James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University, uses the analogy of sight to highlight the point. “If you make the analogy to vision,” he suggests, “what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well.”
Pretty impressive, right?!
It is also thought that they can detect smells in parts per trillion. To put this into perspective, whilst we can detect a spoonful of sugar in a cup of tea, a dog could do the same in a million gallons of tea. No, really…
The Science Behind Your Dog’s Sniffing
Dogs possess around 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. Humans have around 6 million. Furthermore, the part of their brain devoted to analysing smells is around 40 times larger than ours.
Another reason that they have such a good sense of smell is due to the functionality of their noses. When humans inhale, we breathe through the same airways within the nose. Dogs, however, have a fold of tissue inside their nostril, helping to separate the two.
This means that dogs can differentiate between the air that they breathe and the scents that they smell, increasing the accuracy of their sensory perception.
It is for this reason that scientists are working to reverse-engineer the canine nose, in the hope of constructing artificial noses that can do the same work. Such technology would be invaluable to the work of the police, for example, as well as helping on a domestic level to help detect smells, such as gas leaks, within the home.
See, your dog’s far more than just an adorable bundle of fluff!
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