Animalia · Bio · Performativity

Dogs Smell Time

Can you smell time? Your dog can.

On a very basic level, so can you: When you crack the lid on that old quart of milk, tentatively sniff and—peeyouu!—promptly dump that foul stuff down the sink, you are, in effect, smelling time. Specifically, you can smell that far too much time has elapsed since that milk was fresh.

But a dog can smell time with a sophistication that puts our simple sniffers to shame. “Odors exist in time, and dogs perceive that,” explains cognitive scientist and canine researcher Alexandra Horowitz of Columbia University. “Dogs use smell to ‘tell time,’ in some sense, because a more recently laid odor smells stronger, and an older odor smells weaker.”

A dog’s nose is a notoriously sensitive piece of equipment. With up to 300 million olfactory receptors compared to our lousy 5 million, a dog can detect a single teaspoon of sugar dissolved into a million gallons of water, the equivalent of two Olympic-sized swimming pools. Unlike us, dogs are able to take in scent continuously, even as they exhale. What’s more, a dog’s nostrils are smaller than the distance between them, effectively giving dogs “stereo” sniffing power that carries subtle grades of information, including directionality.

Read full article at Strange Attractor

Animalia · Performativity · Photographics · Projects

Maddie the Coonhound on Things

According to Amazon Books: Maddie is a sweet-tempered coonhound who accompanied her owner, Theron, on a yearlong, cross-country trip while he worked on a photojournalism project. In his spare time, Theron took photos of Maddie doing what she does best: standing on things. From bicycles to giant watermelons to horses to people, there really isn’t anything that Maddie won’t stand on with grace and patience. The poignant Instagram photos of this beautiful dog and her offbeat poses have captured the imagination of all those who long for a road trip with a good dog for company. Maddie on Things celebrates the strange talent of one special dog and will resonate with any dog lover who appreciates the quirky hearts (and extraordinary balance) of canines.

More photos at MADDIE THE COONHOUND

Animalia · Bio · Human-ities · Science

Why dogs sniff dogs, humans sniff humans, and dogs sometimes sniff humans

“The smell of a body is the (bacteria themselves) which we breathe in with our nose and mouth, which we suddenly possess as though (they) were (the body’s) most secret substance and, to put the matter in a nutshell, its nature. The smell which is in me is the fusion of the (bacteria) with my body…”

Adulterated, in the interest of good science, from Sartre 1967, p. 174.

A man can live many lives. Paul Ehrlich has. Once, he was a butterfly biologist. Another time, he wrote the book called The Population Bomb, a book that triggered global conversations about the fate of humanity. Still another, he described the relationship between plants and the animals that eat them. A plant evolves, he says, to escape its herbivores and then the herbivores evolve, in response. This war goes on, he found, forever.

All of these and others of the lives of Paul Ehrlich have been lauded. I want to talk about the life of Ehrlich no one ever seems to mention at the award ceremonies, Ehrlich’s life as the guy at the party with the one good liner, the one that everyone laughs at even though it crosses, some say tramples, unspoken social lines.

The specific one liner I am talking about here is one I heard when Ehrlich visited North Carolina State University, where I work. I was helping to host his visit and he and I were talking at the back of a large conference room. We were both looking at the backs of a crowd of hundreds gathered in front of us and, of all things, discussing back pain. We agreed—back pain is terrible. He told me to take care of my back and then, as he looked to the audience and stepped forward through the crowd to give his talk, he left me with a sentence somewhere between punch line and universal truth…“ back problems all started when we began walking upright. The other bad thing about walking upright is that it made it hard to sniff each other…1” With that, he strode, upright, to the stage and began to speak.

Sometimes, when I think of Paul Ehrlich, I think of people sniffing each other. And as several new studies reveal, when it comes to sniffing each other, men are like dogs. Women are too.

Written by Rob Dunn for Scientific American. Continue HERE