Why do dogs have such a powerful sense of smell compared to humans? It’s equal parts anatomy and physics. Virginia Hughes investigates:
Human noses aren’t built to take in much from that pungent world. When we’re trying our damnedest to smell something, we inhale deeply. But as soon as we exhale, we lose the scent. The airflow patterns of the dog nose are strikingly different: They have one air passage for breathing and another for smelling.
Where we inhale deeply and lose most of the air on the next breath, dogs can concentrate and amplify the scents by allowing the scent particles to remain in their nasal cavity for a long period of time. And that “snorting” they do when trying to pick up scents? It causes a very special air current to form, sending faint scents deep into the back of their nose. It really makes you wonder what the world smells like to a dog. Dinnertime must be excruciating.
Check out more at The Last Word On Nothing.