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US Army showing interest in researching bomb-sniffing elephants

The US Army could one day use bomb-sniffing elephants
By: Michael Hatamoto | Science, Space & Robotics News | Posted: Mar 18, 2015 11:55 pm

The US military is conducting studies in South Africa and found that elephants possess a great natural ability to sniff out explosives. The increasingly endangered animals picked out samples laced with TNT 73 out of 74 times - and wrongly identified just 18 out of 502 buckets, yielding a 3.6 percent error rate.




During the test, elephants were rewarded with fruit if they were able to accurately identify samples of TNT and lift a front leg. The second test saw the elephants accurately pick 23 out of 23 buckets, despite the use of soap, gasoline, tea, bleach, and other "distractor odors" used. In the past, elephants were able to instinctively avoid fields in Africa which were littered with land mines used in previous battles.


Since trying to take elephants to the battlefield would present a logistical nightmare, military officials are trying to find ways to take soil samples to the animals.


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