curiosity club talk on perfume
i'm getting ready to do a talk on perfume at the curiosity club on june 26th, and i just got an email about making a bird house that got me questioning
can birds smell?
some don't use their sense of smell very much, but i loved this blurb in science daily about the kiwi:
The brown kiwi from New Zealand, for example, has about six times more OR genes than the blue tit or canary.
"When we looked up the relative sizes of the olfactory bulb in the brain, we also noticed similar big differences between species", said Steiger. "It is likely that the number of OR genes correlates with the number of different smells that can be perceived. As the olfactory bulb is responsible for processing olfactory information, we were not too surprised to see that the number of genes is linked to the size of the olfactory bulb." Wide variation in numbers of OR genes, and sizes of olfactory bulbs, has also been found amongst mammals.
The implication of this finding is that different ecological niches may have shaped the OR gene repertoire sizes in birds, as has been suggested for mammals. The high number of OR genes in the kiwi could be explained by this bird’s unusual ecological niche. Unique among birds, the nostrils of the night-active kiwi are at the tip of the bill. When kiwis probe the forest floor in search of food, they are guided by smell rather than sight. Indeed the snuffling, nocturnal kiwis are sometimes considered to be New Zealand’s equivalent of a hedgehog!