Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Biometrics

pp 1009-1014

Odor Biometrics

  • Adee A. SchoonAffiliated withCenter for Biometrics and Security Research, Chinese Academy of SciencesAnimal Behavior Group, Leiden University
  • , Allison M. CurranAffiliated withDepartments of Computer Science & Engineering, Michigan State UniversityDepartment of Chemistry and Biochemistry, International Forensic Research Institute, Florida International University
  • , Kenneth G. FurtonAffiliated withDepartments of Computer Science & Engineering, Michigan State UniversityDepartment of Chemistry and Biochemistry, International Forensic Research Institute, Florida International University

Synonyms

Osmology; Scent identification line-ups

Definition

Human odor can be differentiated among individuals and can therefore be seen as a biometric that can be used to identify this person. Dogs have been trained to identify objects held by a specific person for forensic purposes from the beginning of the twentieth century. Advancing technology has made it possible to identify humans based on headspace analysis of objects they have handled, opening the route to the use of odor as a biometric.

Introduction

From the early twentieth century, dogs have been used to find and identify humans based on their odor. This has originated from the capacity of dogs to follow the track of a person, either by following the odor the person left directly on the ground that the dog needed to follow quite closely (“tracking”), or by following a broader odor trail that the dogs could follow at some distance (“trailing”). Some dogs were very “track-sure”: i.e., they continued to ...

This is an excerpt from the content