Meet the detector elephants that could start saving lives

They could be used to sniff out explosives.

Meet the detector elephants that could start saving lives

Some scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa have conducted research with elephants that may soon save lives.

In the video below, a researcher explains that there are stories of the gentle giants avoiding minefields in Angola through olfaction, or their sense of smell.

They believed that the elephants recognised the smell of TNT in explosives, so the US Army Research office asked the zoologists to conduct some scientific research to see if it was true.

They used drones to collect scent samples on filter paper from known minefield sites, or collect soil samples from the area, and brought them to the animals.

The footage, released online yesterday but shot in November 2015, shows one of the pachyderms Chishuru, a 17-year-old male bull, sensing the TNT hidden in a row of white plastic buckets purely by smell.

Michael Hensman, manager of Adventures with Elephants, said: "The idea is to remotely collect samples and bring those samples out to the elephants for landmine area reduction."

Researchers are looking at other applications for the study, like elephants conducting cancer and diabetes screenings.

H/T: Reddit and University of the Witwatersrand.

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