Dog noses detect heat, the world faces coronavirus, and scientists search for extraterrestrial life
Up this week. I talked with online news editor David Brim about how dogs noses may be able to detect heat next. We have international editor Martin answering. He's GonNa tell us about the latest news on Corona virus finally in an interview from the triple. As annual meeting producer. Meghan Cantwell talks with Jill. Tarter about the latest technologies being used to search for. Alien Life. Now we have on news editor David Griffin. And he's here to share his favorite online story from the week. Hi Dave Sarah. Okay so I think I know this is your favorite. It involves animals doesn't just involve animal. Seren involves one of my favorite animals which is a dog domesticated animals domesticated animals. Yes yeah so yeah so we love to do dog and cat stories or as much as we can and this is a really cool on because we sort of feel like we kind of figured everything out about dogs and even cats. I mean we've lived with them for ten thousand fifteen thousand years doesn't like there'd be any more surprises but the study says there's Least one surprise left with dogs. We didn't know about right. So if your dog sitting there looking at you funny tilting its head. And you're like what if it what is it might be sensing an odd heat signature in the room. We already know dogs. Noses are super amazing hair smells sensitivity is about a hundred million times more sensitive than ours. Were this new study showing that actually dogs don't detect sense can actually detect heat as well They detect heat with their nose. That's right. They're sensing weak thermal radiation in so dogs like a lot of mammals. They have this kind of naked smooth skin on the tips of their noses around their nostrils. Our noses are wet and cold as quite as innovative as dogs are and so. This coldest is actually kind of a clue because you know in order to sense heat. You can't be hot right otherwise you wouldn't be able to tell if something is like if you have a fever or if you have a warm hand you touch somebody with a fever. You're not gonna be able to sense it very well but if you spend five minutes outside it's really cold and you touch something head. Even if they're normal temperature it's going to feel really warm to you and sort the similar idea with dog noses because it's cold and wet it's able to be able to text up even just sort of marginally warmed hasn't even super warm dies had cold wet noses and actually have a hard time thinking of another animal. That has a nose like this but I know there are other animals that can sense thermal signals. Have the same kind of thing going on right sir. Like vampire bats can actually sense thermal radiation Certain species of snakes can do that and they also both these also have colder noses and so the fact that dogs also had these sort of legendarily cold those sort of gives a hint and researchers wanted to test a new. Study that we're going to see. Well can dogs actually do this? This is something that's always tricky testing the senses of an animal their ability to perceive something. How did they set it up in this study? Will they work with dogs who please So this was mercifully. Not An experiment done on. Cats were much different outcome but the first experiment. They have three pet dogs and they had that choose between a warm objects and my warm. We mean about thirty one degrees. Celsius so slightly warmer that room temperature and then a room temperature object and he please objects about one point six meters away from the dogs. The dogs were touching these objects. They actually had to be able to sniff out this heat at a distance The office looked and smelled exactly the same. Or How do they know? They smelled the same. I assume they controlled for that. I mean I assume that these these are basically objects. I don't think we described in the story but these are pretty bland object. I think it's a couple of boards with a heat thing in the middle of it so these are not very olfactory interesting objects and they're exactly the same Dave. When you heat something up it does smell different. How do we know that? The dog isn't king and on that. And they have these amazing sniffers will the researchers another set of experiments this time with thirteen dogs and they were able to get them in an effort. Marai scanner which measures brain activity and they saw that when the dogs were sniffing out objects that were slightly warmer. There were areas of the brain. There were activating there. Were not the same areas at activate when they smell something so it was if specific region the brain. It's to be lighting up but again it was only when the dogs were detecting thermal radiation. They did not see these regions light up when the dogs were. Just try to sniff out an object. That was just room temperature. So that combined with the previous experiment does not conclusive but it really adds up to this idea. That dogs really do have. This can actually sniff out. Warmness a not a sense with their with their noses. Why am I that BE USEFUL FOR DOGS? Or THEIR ANCESTORS. Were we know that these other animals like the vampire bats stakes these it in hunting? So they're not just hunting by looking at things but since emotional smelt heat especially for stakes is really important and so what this suggests is dogs and we all know. Dogs are descended from Gray Wolves. Who were very effective hunters and rules need to be able to sniff out pray and you can imagine that if if they're just relying on smell alone they may be missing something. That's maybe hiding or may be covered up by other odors but if they can sense heat as well especially heat at a distance that's GonNa make them much more effective hunters of any warm blooded prey and so the feeling is that dogs may have inherited this ability from their ancestor of the Grey Wolves. I guess they can try to test out next they can. They can try to experiment with wolves. It'll probably be a little trickier thank you so much. Dave thanks David. Grimm is the online editor for science. News you can find a link to this story and the related research at science mag dot org slash podcast stay tuned for an interview with international news editor. Martin answering with the latest on Corona virus.