Anyone who has a dog will tell you they are pretty good at finding buried bones. But can a dog sniff out ancient human bones, apart from all the other organic material buried underneath us? Dog trainer Gary Jackson has been working with a female Australian rescue dog, a Labrador named Migaloo, to see if man's best friend can help scientists find our buried ancestors.
I like to experiment with things that have never been tried before. I've trained dogs to find cane toads, koalas, lots of unusual things. So I thought: Can you imagine the discoveries in archaeology that could happen around the world, if dogs could be trained to locate human bones? For years, people have been training cadaver dogs to find decomposed bodies. But the problem with that is at some point rot becomes the primary odor rather than the actual human odor. And many things are rotting throughout a forest. By training the dog on just human bones, you eliminate those distraction odors.
And Migaloo is doing well in her training. In a test, she found a 600-year-old grave in an acre size area in which even Jackson did not know the location. Read about how she was trained at National Geographic News. Link
(Image credit: Gary Jackson)