BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Dogs have a type of infrared sensor in the tip of theirnose which enables them to detect minute changes in temperature such as whenother animals are nearby, according to new research.
Scientists at Sweden’s Lund University and Hungary’s Eotvos Lorand Universitysay the discovery can help better understand how predators detect their preywhen other senses such as sight, hearing or smell are hindered.
In their study printed in Scientific Reports, a journal published by NatureResearch, scientists found that the naked, wet skin surface at the tip of adog’s nose, which is full of nerve endings, worked as an infrared sensor.
“Dogs are able to sense the thermal radiation coming from warm bodies or weakthermal radiation and they can also direct their behavior according to thissignal,” said Anna Balint, lead author of the study.
“We tested whether we can find an area in the brain that shows higher activityif they are exposed to a warmer than to a colder object,” she said.
Brain scans showed increased brain activity when dogs were shown objects thatwere warmer than their surroundings.
“It is possible that other carnivorans possess a similar infrared sense andthat adds a new chapter to the story of prey-predator relationships,” saidRonald Kroger, a sensory scientist at Lund University.
“Predator hunting strategies have to be re-evaluated and the biology of preyanimals has to be revisited with body heat sensing predators in mind,” headded.
Among the dogs involved in the test were golden retrievers and border collies.
Source: Yahoo News (Reporting by Krisztina Fenyo; Writing by Gergely Szakacs;Editing by Alexandra Hudson)
Image: Kosza, the 2,5 year-old Belgian shepherd and Fuge, the 6 year-oldgolden retriever are seen before a test at the Ethology Department of the ELTEUniversity in Budapest
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