Dogs Can Sniff Out the Differences Between Identical Twins

Twins chow down at the Mule Skinner Saloon in Oxford; photo by Joel Sartore


Who is who in this picture?  Maybe you can’t tell the difference but your canine friend, Rover, might be able to help you out.  According to recent study conducted by scientists in the Czech Republic, some dogs are able to distinguish between identical twins even when a DNA test cannot.  Dogs in the experiment sniffed samples from sets of both identical and fraternal twins between the ages of 5 and 13 years old.  Samples from unrelated children were included as well.  In every trial, researchers found that the dogs could both match the twins’ scents and distinguish them from one another — indicating that even people with identical genes have their own unique scent.

Rover might need a little practice before performing this trick, however.  All the dogs used in the experiment were German Shepherds and highly trained.

The scientists have published the results of their study online in the journal PLos ONE.

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