Snot makes dogs super sleuths

Canine nasal mucus pre-sorts smells

source: New Scientist vol 200 no 2685
November 29 2008 p18

Dogs have a network of mucus-coated nasal tubes which pre-sort smells, a process that helps the brain identify them. Smell molecules travel through the mucus at different rates. Pennsylvania State University's Brent Craven has led a team which developed computer models of the passage of air through a dog's nose, to study this phenomenon. This research is novel in that previously researchers looked at receptors for smell molecules, rather than what happened in a dog's nose before the molecules reached the receptors.