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BOTH: We are Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tulleken.
-And we're tracking down the most awesome...
BOTH: And epic things in the universe!
BOTH: Come with us and discover unbelievable things
that will blow your mind!
Blow Your Mind will be bringing you all the top experts
in unbelievable stuff.
From icebergs to elephants, spaceships to sharks.
And this week, it's all about amazing animals.
So, hold on to your brains, here's what's coming up...
Today, we're investigating the smelly secrets of the animal
we know best of all, dogs.
And testing them against their ancient ancestors, wolves.
Coming up later, it's dogs versus wolves in a battle of the senses.
-What are you doing?
-Sorry about that.
I was just practising my howling.
Wolves howl for lots of different reasons,
but one of the reasons is to bring the pack together.
-Like when we have a sing-along.
So, if dogs are descended from wolves,
-is that why they sometimes howl?
Dogs have actually been bred from wolves over thousands of years,
so they're now quite different animals.
That is what we'll talk about today.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
I bring you the main competition - dog versus wolf.
But before we do that, let's find out what happened
when Chris Packham went all the way to Indiana, USA,
to meet some howling wolves, face to face.
-Can I howl?
'Wolves are fascinating,
'because, biologically, they're the same as dogs.
'Around 10,000 years ago, humans began domesticating some wolves.
'And, over time, they created dogs.
'Now, wolves haven't changed much in that time.
'Dogs, on the other hand,
'have evolved into an astonishing variety of breeds.
'They look very different to wolves.
'To give us some insight, we're going to test dogs
'and wolves in a battle of the senses.
'So, first, I want to establish the sensory abilities
'these two animals share, starting with smell.'
So, what's Chris Packham going to use to tempt the wolves?
Three pigs? Little Red Riding Hood?
No, Chris, he's going to use this.
The finest, most expensive perfume in the world.
That's my perfume. Hey, that's really expensive.
Actually, this is really expensive perfume.
And what's amazing is what happens when Chris Packham sprays it
on the grass in Wolf Park, Indiana.
-What? How did he get hold of my perfume?
This couple of wolves down here, they're about 60 metres away.
And I'm going to test that sense of smell.
They've got expensive taste,
so I'm just going to sneak down here...
..put some of this on the grass...
..and see what happens.
Ah, there goes a tenner, at least. Let's see what happens.
'Now, Chris isn't just interested
'in whether the wolves can pick up the scent from so far away,
'he's also interested in what happens when they smell it.'
'Oh, here he comes.
'And he's smelling it.
'Whoa! He loves it!'
This is what we call scent rolling.
I'm afraid to say that many of you have probably seen your dogs
doing this in less pleasant things than expensive perfume.
Ha-ha-ha! That's brilliant, isn't it?
So, my dog does this the whole time.
He loves to go to the park and roll around in anything stinky,
especially fox poo.
Why do they both do the same thing?
Well, no-one really knows, but one theory is that
when a pack member finds a smell, they roll around in it
and then they can bring that stinky message back to the pack.
It's like they're communicating, using smell.
There's that clever nose again.
So, dogs and wolves do have some similarities.
But what we're interested in now is the differences.
There's a place in the USA called Dognition,
that does lots of cool experiments
on dogs and their owners, to find out more.
-That sounds really fun.
-It is. Check it out.
'Any dog owner knows that dogs watch us closely with their eyes.
'So, how important is vision to dogs?
'Dr Brian Hare is chief scientific officer.
'He has recruited dog owners from across the USA
'to carry out some simple tests
'that show how dogs use visual information.'
And now watch where her gaze goes. Right at me. Stay!
So, what we've got here is a very simple experiment.
We've got two people, two cups.
We've hidden food in both cups and we have a dog, of course.
And all I'm going to do is gesture to one of the two cups.
Question is, does the dog go where I gesture,
or to the other cup?
It can't be that she's just using her smell
when she makes her decision, because there's food in both cups.
'Now, both cups smell equally tasty,
'so she can't just be using her sense of smell to make her decision.
-'There's only one reason for her to choose between the cups.'
'This. It's the visual pointing signal that Brian is giving her.'
Good job! All right, there was one here, too.
All right, so, she did use my gesture there.
Sometimes, I point to the right, sometimes, to the left.
Let's do it again. It could be chance.
So, what we've seen is that she really relies on my visual gestures.
She's not relying on her nose. If I'm there and tell her something,
she's much more happy to use that information than rely on her nose.
'Most dog owners know dogs happily follow hand signals from them.
'But we also know dogs have amazing noses
'and a brilliant sense of smell.
'So, which sense do dogs trust the most?
'Is it their sense of sight or their sense of smell?'
I think sight. No, smell. No, definitely sight.
-Chris, relax. Let's find out.
'To find out, Brian is going to give Dexter the dog two opposing signals,
'putting his sense of sight in conflict with his sense of smell.'
So, we're going to actually show Dexter
where we're going to hide the food, so he can remember where he saw it.
But then, we're going to close his eyes and shift where it's hidden.
We'll move it to the other location,
so he could potentially smell where it is.
The question is, does he use what he saw to find the food
or does he rely on his nose?
So, let's see what he does.
All right, Dexter?
Oh, look at that face! Oh! You're killing me.
All right, Dexter, are you ready, buddy?
OK, that's where it's going to be.
'This time, there's only food under one cup.'
OK, close your eyes.
'And without Dexter seeing,
'Brian's now moving that food to the other cup.
'Poor Dexter knows where he SAW it hidden,
'but can smell it in a different place.
'Does he trust his eyes, or follow his nose?'
OK, Dexter, find it!
Oh! What happened? It's a trick! It's over here.
It was a trick! Are you ready, Dexter?
OK, we're going to put it over here. Here it is. Now, close your eyes.
OK, Dexter, go and get it!
You remembered! Except for, it's not there any more!
'Again and again, Dexter, like most dogs,
'goes not to where he can smell the food,
'but where he saw the food.'
'Dognition have a website with things people can try
'with their dogs, to join in with this science experiment
'and learn about dogs, at the same time.'
What if you want to find out more about your identical twin brother?
Well, I've put a sweet under one of these cups, but which one is it?
Can you guess?
How did he do that?
Back to the dogs and wolves. We want to find out if wolves
also use their sense of sight as much as their sense of smell.
Chris Packham went to find out.
'Back at Wolf Park, we're going to test them.
'Kathryn Lord, from the University of Massachusetts,
'reared this group of wolves from birth.
'And they're certainly familiar with humans.'
I know, I know.
I'll stand up for a second, because you're getting a little excited.
'This grey wolf, Fi, can understand certain types of information
'that a wild wolf wouldn't.'
'She comes when her name is called.'
'And remarkably, Fi can also follow Kathryn's pointing.
'She's just as capable as any dog of understanding what it means.'
'We've seen that dogs trust this visual signal above smell.
'So, is this also true of wolves?
'To find out, we're going to repeat the finger-pointing test
'several times, just as we did with the dogs.
-'With a snack under each can.'
'So, will Fi the wolf respond like a dog to a series of finger points?'
-She didn't appear to look, did she?
-She just went for the cheese.
'Fi has quickly learned that, in this experiment,
'the visual signal is irrelevant for finding the food.
'Instead, she chooses to follow her nose.'
So, even though Fi the wolf is looking at Kathryn,
she chooses to ignore the visual command of the pointing
-and trust her sense of smell about where the food is.
And here's why Kathryn thinks this is happening.
The reason she's ignoring me is because she's perfectly capable
of solving the problem without my help,
so she doesn't need to pay attention to me.
'So, seeing seems to be less important for wolves than smelling.
'Kathryn believes she may have discovered why.
'It's all about what happens in the first few weeks of life.
You investigated this by raising wolf cubs from that very young age
-and contrasting their behaviour with dogs.
-I did, yeah.
I actually hand-raised both wolves and dogs.
The wolf pups are great.
We get them at about ten days of age.
So, at that point, they can't see, they can't hear and they can't smell
and they can't really walk. They're just little puddles of fur.
'But as her wolf cubs developed,
'Kathryn observed something amazing.
'There's a brief window of time, soon after they're born,
'when the senses of both dogs and wolves are set for life.
'For wolves, this starts at just two weeks' old.
'At this stage, none of their other senses are fully developed,
'apart from their sense of smell.
'So, they can only understand their world through their nose.
'But dogs' senses are set at four weeks' old.
'This is a small, but important, difference.
'Because by then, dogs have developed all their senses,
'not just smell.
'So wolves have to trust their sense of smell when they're very young
'because they haven't fully learnt how to see, hear or taste things,
'whereas dogs develop all their sense together
'and use them all to discover the world around them.
'The difference in how they use their senses
'has helped make dogs and wolves very different animals.'
So, although dogs and wolves do have things in common,
there are actually big differences,
because dogs have evolved natural behaviours,
which allow them to live happily alongside us humans.
That's why they're called "man's best friend".
If you think about having a wolf as your best mate,
it'd be really difficult, because they'd be constantly
eating your friends and dressing up as Grandma.
That's exactly right, Chris.
I did think the way they reacted to those smells was awesome.
You might say it was o-u-u-utstanding!
You might say that.
Well, if you thought that was outstanding, join us next time...
Because Blow Your Mind is going undercover.
We're using GPS trackers and secret surveillance cameras on cats.
-So join us next time, to...
-BOTH: Blow your mind!