Saturday, February 17, 2007

Amazing Animal Human Tricks

One of the most popular types of tricks that people teach their pets is to "act human." It's amazing when animals do things that we only thought we could do. But what about the reverse? What about when people do what we thought only animals could do?

A while back, I saw this article in LiveScience called Top 10 Animal Senses Humans Don't Have. I say give humanity a chance. You might be surprised at what we can accomplish when we try.

For example, do you think people can sniff out a chocolate bar like some kind of hound? According to UC Berkeley researchers, yes.

To test Sobel and Porter's smell hypothesis, the UC Berkeley researchers soaked a 33-foot (10-meter) string in chocolate essence and laid it in the grass outside Barker Hall, located at the northwest corner of the UC Berkeley campus. They then garbed volunteers to block their senses of sight, hearing and touch, eliminating all clues other than smell to guide them along the trail. Sniffing like bloodhounds, two-thirds of 32 subjects were able to follow the chocolate scent to the end of the trail within three attempts. All volunteers zigzagged along the trail in the same way that tracking dogs follow a scent.

The researchers then trained four of these volunteers to see if they could improve. All were able to double their speed along the track within just a few days and deviated much less from the scent trail than on their first attempts. The researchers measured subjects' sniffs and noticed that the faster the subjects moved along the trail, the more rapid their sniffing - just as with dogs, though not as fast as the six sniffs per second rate exhibited by dogs.

I bet you didn't know that you could do that! You probably never realized that you were capable of echlocation. Check this kid out! (via)

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