Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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smelly time, a post canid degree

expose a site to people throughout time, train a dog to differentiate.
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A dog must know the level/concentration of scent(?).

The only problem is communicating to the dog you want the most recent scent in the situation. With this training, the dog can indicate the people in succession.

This, of course, would be a higher level for those top dogs that can do their work day in and day out and are even smart enough to do the job without prompt.

Columbo logic would get an easy clue with the old dog's 1 2 3.

wjt, Feb 23 2021

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       I understand each of those words individually, but I'm not sure about the order you've put them in... perhaps a re- write after you've slept on it?
neutrinos_shadow, Feb 23 2021

       I understand it perfectly
pocmloc, Feb 23 2021

       I don't know how well dogs signal to their handlers when they've identified a particular smell, but I think this idea starts with the assumption that it's a relatively crude, maybe even binary thing - the dog signals by means of tail-wagging. "Yes, that's a smell I recognise both here and in the target area", or "Nope, I don't find that smell here at all."   

       I think the idea is suggesting that this binary signal is refined. An analogous refinement might be the Native American tracker putting his ear to the railroad tracks and saying "Three days away." only instead of a distant railway car approaching from the East, it's a smell that was last freshly deposited at some identifiable point on a timeline.   

       The idea doesn't suggest the dog communicate the freshness in terms of a numeric measure, but as a ranked sequence of freshness compared with a collection of other smells. Perhaps by getting the dog to snuffle each of three hankies in turn based on the time-proximity of their associated smell, or by placing them into some contraption that maps their ranked relative time of freshness to relative left- right position on an unmarked scale.   

       The next trick to pull off would be to get the dog to agree some kind of scientific units of smell- agedness. This probably follows some kind of complicated inverse square law, or halflife scale as volatiles escape or are oxidised over time. Communicating this via waggy tail might be pushing it for even the smartest of doggies however, and it would take some doing to have them testify in British courtrooms, due to their being so easily distracted by wigs.
zen_tom, Feb 23 2021

       Maybe what you need is a calibrated set of dogs. Start with the one with the strongest smeller and work your way down to the runt.
RayfordSteele, Feb 24 2021

       ^Nice, but expensive in all respects.   

       I was imagining a dog siting/pointing at an individual, as they do now in airports, for a period of time then moving to the next individual. Least smell indicated first, ending up with the dog sitting on the 'most' indicated. A sequence, time based indication.   

       How the dog derives 'most' would be made up of both freshness and level the scent is found in the area. This would be down to trainer's advanced programme, although a really smart dog could be asked to do concentration or freshness via command.   

       If two car thieves got into at the car at separate times, the dog would indicate on concentration. both would be equally fresh because they ran together. The concentration indication might say the get away driver versus the bank robber.   

       In a court, the dogs actions are just another piece of information that has to be judge in the decision.
wjt, Feb 25 2021

       I think a semi-calibrated set wouldn't be that hard to pull off. Have a scent of a known concentration and figure out which dogs detect it, and keep reducing it until you find the best. Do this for a number of different, common yet of-interest scents, like drugs, sweat, foods smuggled in, etc.
RayfordSteele, Feb 25 2021

       (I think I get it now...)
What if a very smelly person comes & goes, then a not-so- smelly person comes & goes after them. The 1st will still be the stronger scent, so the dog (might) indicate an incorrect order.
neutrinos_shadow, Feb 25 2021

       Depending on the specific scent of interest, they might still be able to be separated. Say, one person was trafficking opioids while the smelly person had limburger. A dog trained for opioids might still be able to pick that up.
RayfordSteele, Feb 25 2021

       I think the dog brain would automatically adjust for the smelly person . All dogs have being doing that discrimination their whole life.   

       //semi-calibrated set// A way to work out which dogs are going to enter the programme by repeatedly asking to search the same area after each strength is found.
wjt, Feb 26 2021


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