BaxterBoo Blog
September 8, 2011

Is It Possible to Trick a Bloodhound's Sense of Smell?

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As I was surfing the World Wide Web this morning, I came across an interesting find. If you have ever seen the Discovery Channel on TV, you might know that they feature a show called MythBusters. This show takes long standing myths and tests them to see if they are true or not.

The show’s hosts, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, set out to test whether it was possible to trick a bloodhound’s sense of smell. Since Hollywood often portrays scenes in which you can easily fool the Bloodhound by some simple zigzagging or by hoping in a river, they thought it would be a good idea to see if they could pull it off.

Bloodhounds are known for their ability to sniff out anything, anywhere. They can follow scents for hours and sometimes even days. According to PBS.org, “Researchers have estimated that a bloodhound’s nose consists of approximately 230 million olfactory cells, or “scent receptors” — 40 times the number in humans.” Their powerful nose makes them great for human tracking, which made them great for this myth-busting experiment.

Hyneman set out on a trail. He zigzagged and ran through a river to replicate Hollywood tactics. To take it a step further, Hyneman washed and changed his clothes, doused himself in coffee and cologne, and covered his tracks in ground pepper. All tricks failed and the bloodhound was on his tail.

Nothing could steer the bloodhound away from finding the hiding Hyneman. These results put the myth to rest. Bloodhounds truly have a nose for tracking.

Photo courtesy of: SuperFantastic

Robert Stewart on January 5 at 2:17 PM said:

Mythbusters has a bad habit of proving/disproving a myth by cherrypicking the way the methods used to support their personal basis and ignoring other methods that would shatter their basis. Maybe one day we will get a true Mythbusters series that cares more about proving/disproving and less about personal bias. No doubt part of the reason for this episode's failure would be the risk of being accused of animal abuse if they opted for certain ways to throw off the scent.

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