How Animal Instincts Have Benefited Medical and Technological Use in Society

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Defined by its nature of innateness and inherence, the ability of animals to respond to various stimuli or complex behavior and to display intuitive and unconscious reactions to some provocations remains one of the most complex actions among animals. Many studies have sought to understand specifics and operational forces behind animal instincts, yet it is worth noting that with the maturity of research, science and technology, studies of these instincts have been applied to help with human medicine and development of technology that is relevant for human survival. For a behavior to be considered instinctive, it must be performed instantaneously without prior experience or acculturation, and yet remain non-reflexive (Harley, 2009). Examples of these include the dancing of bees towards food without prior learning, construction of nests by birds without seeing others do it, and common courtship and mating behavior among animals.

Because of elements of superiority in sensitivity, medicine technologists and scientists have employed the use of animal instincts in medical technology. One example of such a case is the use of dogs in detecting cancer. As noted by Goldsmith (2011), dogs have an extraordinary ability in sensing cancerous chemicals. Based on sense of smell and detection from human breath, dogs have proved to bear the ability to pick up fractions of cancerous and tumorous cells within magnitudes of up to one out of trillion fractions. This instinctive nature drives the case of Californian Marin county research whose 2006 results indicated that efficacy levels of up to 88% and above could be attained in successful detection of both breast and lung cancer. Other cases of research by the French carried out on the Belgian Shepherd dog also indicate that it can smell the presence of prostate cancer with efficiencies of up to 91%. Still, Pflumm indicates the use of Portuguese water dogs in the pursuit for individuals with ovarian cancer (Pflumm, 2011). A separate analysis by Silverstein, A., Silverstein, V. and Nunn (2006) only confirms the ability of dogs to instinctively sniff out cancer.

Commonly found in households, mice are an additional medicine and technology detectors of cancer. As of the year 2010, researchers were at conclusive stages of establishing the fact that mice can sniff and detect cancer related substances, especially those of lung cancer (Yadav, 2008). By sniffing the urine of fellow mice, researchers indicate that various types of wild mice could easily and correctly help in the detection of cancer. The fact that this is much related to chemical signatures in sensibility, most researchers in this field seek to employ gas chromatography as well as mass spectrometry to facilitate this research (Srivastava, Patriotis & Srivastava, 2008). To a great sense, mice, like dogs serve a great value in cancer research.

Although insect in nature, bees are the next specie used in medical research and technology. Traditionally, bees are known to crave for sweet scents. This is the reason they hunt nectar and produce honey. Using this principle, medical technologists have established a link between the bees scent ability and the detection of tuberculosis presence in human beings (American Bee Journal, 2008). Trent (2012) explains that research has found bees’ genetic composition to contain positive RNA strands that help in the sensing of tuberculosis. In the publication by Pflumm (2011), bees emerge as very sensitive and helpfully functional in this disease detection. In a research case carried out in the United Kingdom at Rothamsted Research center, bees are found to bear the ability of differentiating the microbes responsible for causing tuberculosis with other microbes that are closely related. The aim of this research is to establish a technology that would be used for mass detection of individuals with tuberculosis in Africa.

An additional case to the research of tuberculosis is the African Rat that is named the African giant because it is one foot long and has large food storage capacity. Claybourne (2013) explains that the process of working with rats bring them out as extraordinarily brilliant and with very outstanding abilities. To this extent, they are able to learn and combine their sense of smell with other abilities. Such abilities include the smelling of diseases, tuberculosis of which is one of the examples. Pflumm (2011) outlines research study case in Tanzania where the African rodent has been discovered to be able to smell traces of diabetic elements on human saliva. In a detailed research report, efficiency levels of up to over ninety percent in detecting presence tuberculosis have been confirmed in these rats. Furthermore, a comparison between their use in detection and the use of conventional microscopes prove that they are more sensitive and can detect even cases that may evade the microscope. Considerably, application of this case in large scale would assist a lot in research and remediation of tuberculosis and other diseases (Albright, 2012).

In conclusion, many other animals could be instinctively used in medicine, medical and other technology to aid human survival. Evidently different animals exhibit different instinctive tendencies which may be beneficial to humans in different ways. All the same, animal instincts have benefited medical technology in numerous ways.


Albright, R. (2012). Detection Rats. New York: PowerKids Press. Retrieved Nov. 22, 2013 from:

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