The Ruff Report: Dogs and Surveys

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Your dog is really a nose above you - and all other living creatures for that matter – when it comes to sense of smell, and researchers have discovered the secret as to why.

A dog has many more nerve cells in its far superior nasal cavity, giving it a heightened sense of smell and an amazing ability to sniff out anything from drugs to cancer, New Scientist magazine reports.

Pennsylvania State University researchers found that a complex network of mucus-covered tubes in a dog's nose pre-sorts smells, making it easier for the brain to identify them. The researchers found that different smell molecules are first picked up by receptors at different locations in a dog's airway network. Until now, research has focused on how receptors pick up different chemicals.

"We've shown that the sorting out of the different odors before they even get to the receptors is also important," said Brent Craven, head of the research team.

The researchers presented the results of their study at a recent meeting of the American Physical Society's division of fluid dynamics in San Antonio, Texas.