3 years ago

African elephants (Loxodonta africana) display remarkable olfactory acuity in human scent matching to sample performance

This paper presents data on the success rate of African elephants in human scent matching to sample performance. Working with equipment and protocols similar to those used in the training of forensic canine units in Europe, scent samples were collected on cotton squares from twenty-six humans of differing ethnic groups, sexes and ages, and stored in glass jars. Three African elephants were trained to match human body scent to the corresponding sample. In total, four hundred and seventy trials, during which the elephant handlers were blind to the experiment details, were conducted. Each trial consisted of one scent that served as the starting (target) sample to which the elephant then systematically determined a potential match in any of the nine glass jars presented. Elephants matched target and sample at levels significantly higher than indicated by random chance, displayed no loss of working memory, and successfully discriminated target odours. They also discriminated between related human individuals spanning three generations and including sibling pairs. In addition to demonstrating scent matching capabilities, this experiment supported the elephants’ significant ability to perform well at operant conditioning tasks.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0168159117303325

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.