Thursday, January 22, 2015

Seven Animals With Exceptional Sense Of Smell

Science can quantify the brain's olfactory lobe and count the smell receptor cells in there, but it still can't qualify a smell in the lab. The human imagination is really constrained regarding animal senses. The truth is, the animal kingdom has plenty of creatures whose senses go beyond what human can conceive.

There are a number of animals with an extraordinary sense of smell that turn into their main weapon for survival. Most of these animals have poor vision and need to develop their ability to smell. In so doing, find themselves food and prevent themselves from becoming food (prey for other animals). Let us have a look at these animals who rely on their noses to win the race of survival.

1. Albatross

Smell dinner on the open sea

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Albatross is any of 21 large species of sea birds distributed throughout the southern Pacific. The male Wandering Albatross is one of the largest birds in the skies with wingspan reaching 3.5 meters or more in length. Albatrosses feed primarily on squid or schooling fish.

What is so unique about this seabird? Wandering albatrosses have an exceptional sense of smell: so keen that they can smell fish from the air. Their nose can detect its meal some 20 kilometers away - well over the visual horizon.



Researchers have found that an albatross will change its course toward prey located well out of visual range. The birds can monitor a miles-wide swath of ocean as they fly in a single direction. For the most part, the birds flew perpendicular to the wind (crosswind). The tapered wings help the birds to glide through the air rather than flying directly upwind which uses much more energy. In many instances, the birds would stop flying crosswind and turn upwind or zigzag into the wind swooping down to snap a fish or other food source.


2. Eastern American mole

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Smell In Stereo

The eastern mole or common mole (Scalopus aquaticus) is a medium-sized, overall grey critter native to Canada, Mexico, and the eastern United States. The species prefers the loamy soils found in thin woods, meadows, pastures and field. It's large, hairless, spade-shaped forefeet are adapted for digging both deep and shallow burrows. The species feed mainly on earthworms.

The same question here, What's unique with the common mole? This animal is nearly blind, but owns a nose that can smell in stereo, a new study says.

Most mammals, including people, see and hear in stereo. For instance, stereo vision means that we see an object in three dimensions. But only a few mammals have been confirmed to have a stereoscopic sense of smell. That means that each nostril operates independently of the other, sending different signals to the brain that are then computed to determine the direction of the odor. The common mole—relies on the ability to distinguish between subtle differences in the intensity of smells at each nostril to locate food.

3. Male Silkworm Moth

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Best ‘mate’ detection

The Silkworm (Bombyx mori) is the caterpillar of a moth whose cocoon is used to make silk. This insect is also called the silkworm-moth and the mulberry silkworm. It is native to Northern China.

What's so peculiar about this creature?

It is a fact that moths don't have noses, the silkworm moth included. But this insect have antennae covered in scent receptors. Male silkworm moths use their feathery antennae to comb scent molecules out of the air as they fly, rather than sucking it up through a nostril. While they don't detect every scent well, male silkworm moths are able to pick up just a single smell – the one emitted by female moths. Wow! what an exceptional way to meet that future wife from 6-7 miles away. Indeed, the silkmoth is the champion smeller of the insect world.

4. Sharks

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Best lunch detector

There are more than 465 known species of sharks inhabiting in our oceans today. They are particularly well tuned for hunting. Most species of shark eat things like fish, krill, plankton, crustaceans, mollusks, marine mammals and other sharks. Sharks breathe with their gills, so their noses serve only to smell.

So what's new? Sharks have an exceptional very sense of smell that allows them to detect blood in the water from miles away. Also, some species are able to detect as little as one part per million of blood in seawater.

5. Dogs

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Target a Single Scent

The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is man's best friend. But here's the twist. Human interprets the world predominantly by sight, whereas a dog by smell. So what! Here's the twist. Dogs have a keen ability to discriminate among smells.

While a dog's brain is only one-tenth the size of a human brain, the part that controls smell is 40 times larger than in humans. A dog’s sense of smell is about 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than human! A human brain contains more or less 5 million scent glands, compared to a dog, who has anywhere from 125 million to 300 million (depending on the breed).

The bloodhound exceeds this standard with nearly 300 million receptors. The bloodhound has the best sense of smell of any dog. It can stay on the trail of a person after several days, even if that person has walked through busy shopping centers and streets. Unbelievable!

6. Bear

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Champion sniffer

The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) is a large-bodied, muscular animal that is quite agile. Black bears can run up to 35 miles per hour. It has a very keen sense of smell - picking up a scent from over a mile away! Black bears have been observed to travel 18 miles in a straight line to a food source. It's not all about food, though -- male polar bears have been known to trek a hundred miles following the scent of a sexually receptive sow.

A bear’s brain is a third of the size of ours, yet the part devoted to smell is five times larger. They possess big noses and the inside surfaces of their nostrils are enlarged with folds that make room for thousands of smell receptors. Their sense of smell is certainly better than a bloodhound

7. Elephant

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Best smell in the animal kingdom

Now its out in the open. The African elephant wins the award for the Best Smell in the Animal Kingdom. ext time you’re deciding whether to throw out some questionable produce, you might want to turn to an elephant. Researchers have discovered that African Elephants have the largest number of genes dedicated to smell of any mammal. Incredible sense of smell - five times more than humans and twice that found in dogs, and almost five times more than humans.

Facts:
African elephants exceptional sense of smell enable them to detect water sources as far as 19.2 km (12 mi.) away. A herd will use feet and tusks to dig waterholes for themselves. Their sensitive sense of smell to forage for food and identify family members.

In related research done in 2007, studies showed that African elephants can smell the difference between two tribes living in Kenya: the Maasai, whose young men prove their virility by spearing elephants, and the Kamba, farmers who usually leave elephants alone.

The reason behind these astonishing feat. Survival in the wild.