How does the world appear to a dog? We all know that they have an astonishing sense of smell, excellent hearing and sharp eyes—enough to build up an extremely detailed map of their surroundings. But recent research suggests that dogs live in an even richer sensory world than we expected. They can directly detect the warmth of a body from several feet away, and they do it with their nose.

For humans, it’s tricky to detect something that’s only slightly warm without touching it. We have thermal receptors in our skin, but they…

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