Wednesday, December 20, 2006

If we go back on our four legs and get down on the ground, we may be able do things we had no idea we could do.
--Neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd, Yale University

Dr. Shepherd was commenting on a recent informal study out of California that tested a group of undergrads with respect to their ability to track prey using their sense of smell. The Berkeley researchers conducting the experiment dipped 10 meters of twine in a distinctive scent and outfitted the 32 volunteers in earmuffs, gloves and kneepads so they couldn't use sensory cues other than smell.

Two-thirds of these game subjects successfully followed the 'game' trail, scooting on hands and knees across the grassy knoll like dogs in pursuit of a squirrel (There's actually a brief film clip of the merry chase on the ScienceNOW web-site!).

And the scent? Chocolate, of course. So if you ever need to track a chocolate bunny in the night, chances are good you'll not go hungry.

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