A team of Pennsylvania State University researchers, led by Brent Craven, say that the layer of mucus in a dog’s nose helps it pick up and sort scents as they travel to receptors.
Or, as New Scientist magazine put it, “Dogs extraordinary ability to sniff out anything from cocaine to cancer turns out to owe much to the gunk inside their nose.”
Dogs have many more nerve cells in their nasal cavities — and a complex network of snot-coated tubes that also “pre-sorts” smells, which may make it easier for the brain to identify them.
Craven and his colleagues used MRI images of a dog’s nasal airways to develop computer models of how air travels thorugh them. The researchers observed that different molecules were picked up by nerve cells at different points along the nasal passages.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 9th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: brent craven, cells, dogs, molecules, mucus, nasal cavities, new scientist, odor, passages, pre-sort, research pennysylvania state university, senses, smell, sniff