Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hold your breath and the vampire might go away

From the Telegraph, Roger Highfield the Science Editor brings us the following story:

Forget garlic, crucifixes and wooden stakes: the best way to thwart a vampire is to hold your breath.

Vampire bats often return to dine on their victims and it had been a puzzle how they did this. They have heat sensors on their noses but these only detect warm skin a few inches away, revealing the warmest, blood rich, skin to bite. Their sensitive sense of smell may also help but yesterday German scientists reported that the creatures recognise their prey by listening out for their gasps, inhalations and exhalations.

The discovery by Udo Groeger and Lutz Wiegrebe from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich, is described in the journal BMC Biology. They found that vampire bats of the species Desmodus rotondus could locate human breathing from tens of yards away.

All well and good, but science is a long way behind. The Chinese have had the holding of one's breath to escape a vampire as part of their traditions for quite some time, as the still from Mr Vampire illustrates.

No comments: