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China clones 'the Sherlock Holmes' of police dogs

China clones 'the Sherlock Holmes' of police dogs

Technology
By Lucia Binding, news reporter Scientists in China have cloned what they call the "Sherlock Holmes of police dogs" in a bid to cut training times and costs.Scientists took DNA from a seven-year-old female named Huahuangma - who has won a series of awards for helping to crack multiple cases - and created a puppy named Kunxun. The Kunming wolfdog is China's first ever police dog clone and has adjusted well to her new environment, according to project analyst Wan Jiusheng."She is friendly to humans, sociable and alert," he told Science and Technology Daily.He said the three-month-old puppy is not scared of the dark or unfamiliar places, and has already developed a strong sense of smell and can quickly find hidden food. Kunxun is said to have be...
Electronic nose better at sniffing out disease-carrying dogs in Brazil

Electronic nose better at sniffing out disease-carrying dogs in Brazil

Science
March 1 (UPI) -- Scientists have developed a new, more accurate electronic nose designed to sniff out dogs carrying Leishmaniasis, a deadly disease that kills some 3,500 people in Brazil every year. Dogs carry the parasite that causes the disease in humans. Sand flies can spread the disease from dogs to humans. Any dog found to carry the parasite must be put down to prevent the spread of the deadly illness. Because the new electronic nose, or volatile organic chemical analyzer, is 95 percent accurate, researchers hope fewer dogs will be unnecessarily euthanized. "We collect some hair from the dog and test it in our kit which we call an electronic nose. This can sniff the odor of the hair and, it can tell if the dog is infected or not," Gordon Hamilton, professor of medical entomology and ...
Skull scans reveal how prehistoric dogs caught dinner

Skull scans reveal how prehistoric dogs caught dinner

Science
Jan. 11 (UPI) -- To better understand how the earliest dogs hunted, scientists scanned and analyzed the skulls of lions, wolves and hyenas. The research showed the earliest known dog species, Hesperocyon gregarius, likely pounced on its prey, just like foxes and coyotes. Scientists also determined the largest known dog species, Epicyon haydeni, were the size of grizzly bears. Computerized scans of animal skeletons have previously helped scientists to better understand the locomotion of various species. Researchers at Scotland's University Edinburgh and the University of Vienna in Austria used previous scans to build digital models of the inner ears of 36 different carnivore species, allowing them to hone in on the specific hunting methods used by various predators. The modeling effort sho...
Climate change: Will insect-eating dogs help?

Climate change: Will insect-eating dogs help?

Science
Do you fret that your pet pooch is blamed by environmentalists for turning rainforests into poo in the park? Have no fear - you can now fatten Fido on black soldier flies instead of Brazilian beef.A pet food manufacturer now claims that 40% of its new product is made from soldier flies.It's one of many firms hoping to cash in on the backlash against beef by people concerned that the cattle are fed on soya.These soya plantations are responsible for the release of greenhouse gases in significant quantities.Is it good for the dog?The key question is whether a diet of 40% soldier flies meets the nutritional needs of your beloved canine. We put the question to a pet diet expert at the Royal Veterinary College, Aarti Kathrani. Her conclusion was a cautious "ye...
Malaria: Sniffer dogs to help in fight to eradicate disease

Malaria: Sniffer dogs to help in fight to eradicate disease

Health
Media playback is unsupported on your device Scientists in the UK and The Gambia say they have the first evidence that dogs can sniff out malaria.They have trained dogs to recognise tell-tale aromas using clothes from people infected with the disease.It is hoped the animals can be used to stop malaria spreading and eventually help with eradication. Although the research is still at an early stage, experts say the findings may even lead to new ways of testing for the disease.Studies have already shown that being infected with the malaria parasite changes our aroma to make us more attractive to the mosquitoes that spread the disease. Now dogs are on the scent, too.Smelly socksSocks worn overnight by children in the Upper River Region of The Gamb...