A dog is man’s best friend, even though it doesn’t stop the man from cheating on his wife, it has no tips when it comes to gambling, and it can’t pour a pint of black and tan to save its life. But that’s not why we love them. We love them because they’re loyal, because petting them has therapeutic values, and because they share our love of bacon. Also, the sensory power of their noses is one of humanity’s most utilized tools of the animal kingdom. Aside from pelicans being used as washing machines anyway.
It’s been a big year for dog noses, as the underlying science behind them is steps closer to being understood. For a recent interview in National Geographic, Gary Jackson was asked about another surprising talent that canines’ noses offer them: finding ancient corpses. Dogs are often brought into ongoing police investigations to search wide expanses of land faster and more efficiently than humans can, but it’s another thing entirely to expect your pup to stumble upon Tutankhamen’s grave.
Jackson, of Multinational K9, having already trained dogs to find cane toads and koalas, has trained a black lab mix named Migaloo to lock onto the scent of human bones, rather than decomposing flesh, for its searches. By only giving her a toy ball when she finds the pre-placed bones, Jackson’s training was rather simplistic one would think.