5-speed listening (Dogs' Noses - Level 6)

Scientists find out why dogs' noses are cold



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Researchers believe they have solved one of science's greatest mysteries. They think they have found out why a dog's nose is cold. Scientists from universities in Sweden and Hungary have posited that dogs' noses are constantly cold because they act as "ultra-sensitive heat detectors". Canines can sense the temperature of something before they touch it. They added that dogs use their noses to detect tiny changes in temperature, such as when possible predators or prey are nearby. Humans generally only know something is hot after touching it, often with painful consequences. It was common belief that the only reason dogs' noses are cold is to control and regulate their own body temperature.

The researchers conducted experiments on sixteen dogs that had to detect the temperature of different objects in a room. The objects had different temperatures that humans could only differentiate by touching them. The scientists said that the brain activity in the dogs showed that they could discern which objects were warmer than others. Anna Balint, lead author of the study, said: "Dogs are able to sense the thermal radiation coming from warm bodies or weak thermal radiation, and they can change their behaviour according to this signal." Another scientist said scientists should now re-evaluate how predators hunt. Many may use heat-sensing abilities to track or sense their prey.

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