Skip to comments.When Cadaver Dogs Pick Up a Scent, Archaeologists Find Where to Dig
Posted on 05/23/2020 7:16:00 AM PDT by Theoria
Recent research highlights the power of the canine nose to uncover buried remains from ancient human history.
On a sunny summer day in Croatia several years ago, an archaeologist and two dog handlers watched as two dogs, one after another, slowly worked their way across the rocky top of a wind-scoured ridge overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
Bodies had lain in beehive-shape tombs on this necropolis, part of the prehistoric hill fort of Drviica, since the Iron Age. The two dogs, trained to detect human remains, were searching for scents that were thousands of years old.
Panda, a Belgian Malinois with a sensitive nose, according to her handler, Andrea Pintar, had begun exploring the circular leftovers of a tomb when she suddenly froze, her nose pointed toward a stone burial chest. This was her signal that she had located the scent of human remains.
Ms. Pintar said the hair on her arms rose. I was skeptical, and I was like, She is kidding me, she recalled thinking about her dog that day.
Archaeologists had found fragments of human bone and teeth in the chest, but these had been removed months earlier for analysis and radiocarbon dating. All that was left was a bit of dirt, the stone slabs of the tomb and the cracked limestone of the ridge.
Human-remains detection dogs, or cadaver dogs, are used worldwide on land and water. Well-trained dogs help find the missing and dead in disasters, accidents, murders and suicides. But the experiment in Croatia marked the start of one of the most careful inquiries yet carried out of an unusual archaeological method.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
'Nonetheless, the team returned to the necropolis for the first controlled tests in September 2015, and again a full year later. Both times, they used all four of Ms. Pintar and Mr. Nikolićs cadaver dogs: Panda, Mali, a third Belgian Malinois and a German shepherd. They worked them on both known and double-blind searches, in areas where nobody knew if tombs were located.
The dogs located four tombs new to the archaeologists. Dr. Glava had suspected that a fifth site might hold a burial chest, and the dogs alerts, combined with excavation, proved her suspicion correct.'
My esteem for that breed goes up and up.
THANK you! I did not want to ‘log in’ with the NYT but the article is interesting. I wonder what they will find with dogs now? Amazing.
My comment is somewhat off topic, but my understanding is that the olfactory part of the skull has much to do with the ability to smell.
Now I fully agree that our canine friends can smell many times better than a human, as this story illustrates.
What’s off topic is my going to T-Rex. The loons trying to recreate their behavior state they had a great sense of smell simply because the olfactory was so large. If that’s the case, then a dog’s should be the size of a basketball. My contention is T-Rex’s was so large simply because it was so prehistoric and in early stages of evolution where it was large for reasons other than a great sense of smell.
WHO’S A GOOOOOD BOOOOYYYY!?!?
YES YOU ARE A GOOOD BOOOYYY!!
Man’s bestie for sure.
“The two dogs, trained to detect human remains, were searching for scents that were thousands of years old.”
heck i learned dogs loved to dig up buried bones when i was a kid..
Is there any marrow or DNA left in thousand year-old bones for the dogs to detect and dig? Hardly seems possible, unless frozen in permafrost.
I would say the T Rex is more akin to a giant Hyena. Present day crocs have a great ability to detect smells. That is how they can find rotting stuff from a great distance. Their sense of smell is vast. I would suspect T Rex would have such a ability to locate large dead animals for consumption.
Hot Dang! I’m a gonna train my blue tick to sniff out them buried gold coins & diamonds! Yup!
** Bodies had lain in beehive-shape tombs on this necropolis, part of the prehistoric hill fort of Drviica, since the Iron Age. The two dogs, trained to detect human remains, were searching for scents that were thousands of years old. **
Which is it? Prehistoric or Iron Age? I understant that the fort could go back much further but attaching that adjective fuzzes up the whole description.
That breed is wired a little too tight for my tastes. Cool looking dogs. Great for security work & such.
The Iron Age began around 1200 B.C. in some areas (iron-working wasn't introduced at the same time everywhere). 8th century B.C. is when the Greeks began to colonize new areas including Corcyra (Corfu) and Syracuse; there were a few Greek colonies in the Adriatic but the earliest ones there seem later than the 8th century. There were Greek colonies on the islands of Corcyra Melaena (Korcula), Issa (Vis), and Pharos (Hvar), and at Tragourion (Trogir) on the mainland. We don't have any writings from the native population of this area (Illyrians) so it can be considered "prehistoric."
Drvisica is near Karlobag, on the Croatian coast opposite the island of Pag in the northern Adriatic.
What WONT dogs do to find a bone
Yup what a pro trainer wants in a dog and what the average home wants in a dog can be VERY different things.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.