Supposedly putrecine (sp?) is the chemical or bacteria that causes rotting humans to be so foul smelling. I’ve read that it is the single most offensive odor to human noses. I know that some other animals and insects can smell their own dead, but is this an across the board thing?
How would we know?
Seriously, dogs investigate any kind of meat. I’m not sure we could tell if a dog, or a cat, or a racoon, was more or less interested in the smell of their own dead or responding to that particular meat for other reasons.
One of my dogs, a dog who frequently looked for the cat when we came home, sniffed the dead cat up and down thoroughly, and then never looked for the cat again. HOWEVER, perhaps the dog “looked” for the cat when we came home because there was fresh cat scent on the sofa cushions or the bed or whatever, and once that stopped happening, the dog had no reason to look. I like the idea that they dog “knew,” but there’s no way to be sure.
By either blind or double-blind tests? Experimentation, or observation? I’m not asking for an educated guess, I know that this phenomenon occurs. I’m wondering to what degree does it occur? Is it an instinctual tool imparted on all things? Have there been any studys? Surely you can perform the rat/maze test and find out whether or not s/he avoids the path with the dead rat in it…?