Nov 27, 2007

'Stiff' Dogs

I'm currently engaged in Mary Roach's wonderful expose on human cadavers, Stiff, and I just found out how dogs are trained to track down dead bodies. No, not through rolling around in it and bringing it home. That seems to just be my beagle, Brodie.

See, when bodies decompose, they emit different types of gases and other horrific scents. One of these is putrescine, the same smell that dead fish give off. Putrescine is a very distinct smell, apparently, and dogs are able to pick it up, even when bodies are submerged in water.

How do they end up training the dogs, you ask.

Well, there are companies that produce bottles of artifical putrescine! Wouldn't you love to work in that office? The dogs are then taught to look for that scent when they play, with simple games like fetch and such.

Also, I learned that car companies use a 'smell meter' to tell if a car has the right amount of new-car-smell or not. If it doesn't, the car doesn't pass snuff, no pun intended.


  1. Anonymous11:26 PM

    Go Hawks!!! Too bad we lost tonight.

  2. I's tragic. How many points did Dominique Wilkins have? Did Mookie Blaylock have as many assists as he normally does? I love it when he gets those awesome triple-doubles. That Spud Webb sure can dribble for a short guy.

    Go Hawks!