Article (Scientific journals)
Copycatting smell of death – Deciphering the role of cadaveric scent components used by detection dogs to locate human remains
Martin, Clément; Malevic, Marta; Diederich, Claire et al.
2023In Journal of Forensic Sciences
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Abstract :
[en] Human remains detection dogs (HRDD) are commonly used by law enforcement agencies to search for cadavers. Biological material is typically used as a training stimulus, also called aids, to train dogs to recognize the smell of cadavers. While HRDD training approaches have received extensive attention, information remains limited on the olfactory cues used to train them. Here, we aimed to decipher the chemical basis of detection dog olfaction. Five specific objectives were explored to precise whether the composition or the concentration of the training aids drives the HRDDs responses. We recorded the behavioral responses of four HRDDs exposed to different cadaveric-like smells. We found that HRDDs recognized a simplified synthetic aid composed of cadaveric compounds. The lowest concentration at which HRDDs continued to perceive the cadaveric smell was determined. HRDDs were not impacted by slight modifications to the chemical composition of a blend of odors that they have been trained with. HRDDs associated sulfur and nitrogen compounds as human cadaver. Our findings highlight a lack of specificity of HRDDs to cadaveric compounds, which could lead to error of detection. Moreover, all dogs did not positively respond to the same blends, despite being trained with the same aids and procedure. However, we confirmed that dogs could be trained with a simplified blend of molecules. The chemical composition of a training aid has therefore high consequences on the performance of the trained animal, and this conclusion opens additional questions regarding olfaction-based detection animals.
Disciplines :
Author, co-author :
Martin, Clément  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Département GxABT > Gestion durable des bio-agresseurs
Malevic, Marta 
Diederich, Claire
Verheggen, François  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > TERRA Research Centre > Gestion durable des bio-agresseurs
Language :
Title :
Copycatting smell of death – Deciphering the role of cadaveric scent components used by detection dogs to locate human remains
Publication date :
May 2023
Journal title :
Journal of Forensic Sciences
Publisher :
Wiley-Blackwell, United States - Pennsylvania
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Available on ORBi :
since 05 June 2023


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