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BOTH: We are Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tulleken.
-And we track down the most awesome...
BOTH: ..living things in the universe!
BOTH: Come with us and discover unbelievable things that will...
Blow Your Mind will be bringing you the top experts on the planet -
from icebergs to elephants,
-spaceships to sharks.
-Look at that!
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 amazing secrets
of the animal we know best of all - dogs.
We'll meet a pooch with an incredible superpower...
and a real-life dog that can tell the time?!
This is Millie. As you can see, Millie's a dog.
What we're interested in, is that dog actually have superpowers.
Like flying or zapping cats with laser eyes?
No. That's NOT what I meant.
What if I was to ask you how do dogs smell?
This one smells damp with a hint of dog food.
True. But apart from that,
I'm interested in how dogs have an incredible sense of smell.
All dogs have got amazing noses,
but some dogs have got absolutely incredible sniffing power.
Let's find out what happened
when our friend Chris Packham went to Northern Ireland
to see Fern the sniffer dog at work.
Neil Powell trains sniffer dogs,
and one of his top performers is Fern.
Fern usually works for the Search And Rescue Dog Association,
but today she'll try and sniff out something Neil has hidden.
What's extraordinary is that it's not on dry land -
it's in the lake.
Let's get this straight. You've been out this morning
-and hidden a lure in the lake...
..and we're going to go out and she'll sniff it and find it?
Yes. About two hours ago we hid a small canister in 20ft of water.
It's got pork meat in it.
I know where it is, but she doesn't.
So, we'll search the lake with her,
and hopefully get within 30ft of it.
-Come on, then, Fern.
I really do need to see this.
Can a dog really smell something on the bottom of a lake
in pouring rain and strong winds?
It sounds impossible!
Neil and the dive team know where the canister is hidden
because they fixed a GPS position on it
when they dropped it into the lake.
The question is - can Fern find it?
So, you're saying that Fern
will be able to detect a tiny piece of meat
hidden inside a tin can,
sunk in the middle of a lake,
outdoors, on a rainy, windy day? No way.
Well, she certainly thinks she can. Is she right?
-The team systematically criss-crosses the lake
so that at some point Fern will find herself
directly downwind of the sunken canister -
but will she pick up the scent?
Only the tiniest quantities of chemicals from the meat
might reach the surface,
and almost all of it will get blown away.
And yet, around 10 minutes after we start...
-Fern senses something.
She's got the scent, but how are you going to know
when we are in the closest possible spot?
Once you're right over top of it,
you'll see her go over the side more
and really focus on the water.
-Bring her round there, John.
'Fern has made it quite clear where SHE thinks
'the source of the smell is.
'There's only one way to know if Fern's chosen the correct spot.
'The dive team check it against the GPS fix
'they took when they threw the canister into the water,
'and, unbelievably, Fern is bang on top of it!
'The diver's final job is to retrieve the canister,
'but the lake bed has a surprise -
'the bottom is a metre of soft silt,
'and the canister has sunk right into it.
'So, amazingly, Fern hasn't just sniffed the lure
'through 6m of water,
'but also through a metre of mud as well.'
What an absolutely astonishing thing!
Now, I've seen animals over the years
pull off some remarkable feats,
but this has been something else, it really has.
I cannot believe that. That is totally amazing.
I told you, dogs have super smelling power.
What do you think she got as a reward?
A gold trophy? A cuddle? A cat?
-Nope. A stinky old tennis ball.
-Stinky tennis ball?
-Here you go!
What a clever girl!
That has really blown my mind.
How faint must the smell of the meat on the surface of the lake have been!
It's like being able to taste one teaspoon of sugar
in two Olympic swimming pools full of tea.
Dogs really do have a super sense of smell.
What if I told you dogs could do something even more amazing?
What would you say if I told you
that dogs could smell the time?
I'd say, "No-one believes that, Xand. It's lies and rubbish."
That's what I thought. Look at this.
Meet the owners of Jazz, the Hungarian Visler.
Stop licking my ear.
They're convinced that Jazz knows exactly when his master Johnny
is about to come home.
And to witness this we've left cameras running
all over their house for a week.
The family have a regular routine.
Christine and Johnny leave the house at the same time in the morning,
leaving Jazz to his own devices.
And every evening, Christine comes home at four o'clock.
But it's what Jazz does next that really interests us.
Every evening at around 4.40pm,
20 minutes or so before Johnny comes home,
Jazz always leaps up on the sofa
as if he is waiting for him.
Between 4.30pm and 5pm,
Jazz is always looking out for Johnny.
It seems Jazz somehow knows that Johnny is coming home.
I don't think this is so impressive.
Johnny comes home at the same time every day,
so Jazz knows when he'll come.
But dogs can't tell the time. He can't look at a clock.
Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.
Now, it could just be that Christine coming home
sets Jazz's clock.
We know it's not because he needs dinner,
or his walkies, because Christine's dealt with that.
There is a theory that a dog's sense of smell could play a role.
Whilst Johnny's out of the house,
the smell he leaves behind fades at a regular rate,
so could it be that when Johnny's scent drops to a particular level,
Jazz senses he's about to return?
Hey, there, Jazzy boy.
That makes sense. I can smell when you've been around.
People's smell does hang around, even after they've gone,
and dogs can detect that, although people can't.
So you're saying Jazz knows Johnny is due home
because his smell has dropped below a certain level?
Some scientists do think that,
so we decided to put it to the test.
-To test this theory,
at the end of the week we made a change.
On her way home, Christine swung by Johnny's football club
to get some of his freshly worn T-shirts.
Then, when she got back at her usual time,
she wafted them around the living room
to spread Johnny's smell around.
If Jazz is using the fading smell of Johnny
to sense the passage of time,
this should be the equivalent of resetting the clock.
So, will Jazz still know what time it is?
We use Johnny's clothes to stop his scent dropping
and confuse Jazz about when he's coming home.
Right. Will Jazz, TODAY, know when Johnny's due home?
Will he get up at 4.40pm,
like he usually does, and go to the window?
It's now less than half an hour before Johnny normally comes home.
But for the first time Jazz stays dozing.
It's now for 4.48pm...
Jazz only lifted his head for about 30 seconds,
he's lying flat-out again,
enjoying the heat at the radiator.
Now, Johnny's back
and, to Jazz, it seems to come
as a complete surprise!
Now, Jazz doesn't wear a watch
and he can't read a clock,
but he can still tell the time
using his sense of smell.
So that's amazing.
Although time was invented by people
to tell us when to go to bed and get up,
-and watch Blow Your Mind on CBBC...
-I love that show!
..now dogs can use their sense of smell to tell the time
and fit in with their owners' routines.
If I worked on my sense of smell, could I use it to tell the time?
No, you definitely couldn't.
Dogs have got amazing and completely different noses to us.
-Are you ready for the science bit?
Dogs' noses are nothing like ours.
Each nostril can be controlled independently, allowing dogs
to detect precisely the direction a smell is coming from.
And what goes on inside is even more amazing.
Dogs split the flow of air into two separate streams,
one for breathing and one for smelling,
so they can do both at the same time.
Their world is a complex,
finely tuned, sensitive, smell-scape.
They can sniff out things that are too far away to see,
or that are hidden,
and they can pick up the faintest scent in the air.
So one reason dogs can do this amazing stuff with their noses,
is because they can use each nostril independently,
rather like our ears, or our eyes - they can see or hear, but with smell.
We know how dogs' noses work, but what about their brains?
Finding out about dogs' brains is at the cutting edge of science.
Take a look at this.
-In Atlanta, neuroscientist Greg Burns
is adapting a harmless medical technique
to study brain activity in dogs.
The need to keep still
makes it impossible to scan most animals, unless they're sedated.
Not a good way to study their brains!
Greg has teamed up with Mark Spivak
to devise a programme to train dogs
for the bizarre conditions they will face.
The key is a steady supply of snacks.
After scanning many dogs,
Greg's results show the area of the dog's brain that responds.
So, Kady's in the scanner now,
and Patricia is giving Kady hand signals.
So, we've already taught the dogs, with practice, this means food. OK?
So every time Patricia puts the signal up,
we are going to be looking in her brain for what that response is.
We're going to be looking for a very specific area
called the caudate nucleus.
We also have another hand signal, like this,
and that means no reward.
If we look very closely,
we find that the area that's common to all the dogs
corresponds exactly to the same part of the human brain
that responds to reward.
Rewards like money, music, food -
all the things that humans like
is also activating in the dog's brain.
So, Kady's brain scan shows she reacts emotionally to the signals,
because she associates it with getting something she likes - food.
So, it seems exactly the same part of the brain in dogs AND humans
is lit up when you get a reward.
We're not so different, are we, Millie!
-Apart from the hairy body.
-And four legs.
-And they eat dog food.
-I like dog food.
And they've got amazing noses. So, we're VERY different to dogs.
Coming up this afternoon we have even more amazing stuff
to blow your mind.
We'll meet dogs'
great-great-great-great grandparents - wolves.
We'll see how wolves go crazy for posh perfume,
and will discover some of the cutest wolf cubs on the whole planet.
So join us later to...