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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2010

Scent to Help Humans

Engineers are constantly trying to improve technology to make things easier for humans, especially when there are things that humans cannot do very well or that are dangerous. However, engineers are beginning to realize that we simply cannot design things as well as God has already designed them in the natural world around us. Instead of trying to design something “from scratch,” engineers are starting to figure out ways to use God’s amazing designs to suit our needs.

One example of this sort of work involves canines—or dogs. Dogs have been used for many purposes for hundreds of years. The Romans used war dogs in battle. Humans have used dogs for hunting and pulling sleds, as well as shepherding sheep and herding cattle. German Shepherds are so intelligent that they have been used as guide dogs for blind people, guard dogs, and for tracking criminals.

Saint Bernards have been used as search and rescue dogs for people caught in avalanches. They have thick fur that allows them to stay warm in spite of freezing temperatures. They can smell people, even if they are trapped under several feet of snow! When they have found a person trapped in the snow, they will lay beside the person to keep him warm while another Saint Bernard goes back for help. Saint Bernards are also said to be able to predict storms, due to their ability to hear very low sounds that cannot be heard by human beings.

Due to their incredible sense of smell, dogs are being used for many unique purposes today, including detecting bombs and drugs. They are even used for finding bed bugs (yep, bed bugs!), pipeline leaks, cell phones, and stolen property. Some have trained Labradors to be controlled remotely, like a remote control car! God created many amazing animals on the Earth to help us while we are living here. Dogs are certainly some of them.

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