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Re: Trex as a good smeller

On Tue, 4 Jul 2006, Scott wrote:
I've wondered if really good smellers might be able to smell
directionally--one possible explanation for the slits in the sides of dog
noses, e.g. Directional smelling, like 3-D vision, would make location of
dinners easier, whether carcasses or prey. It would seem possible to test
this via MRI. Does anyone know of work along these lines?

Yes and no. Mammals and humans at least, don't know about other species.


Though humans may never match the tracking ability of dogs, we apparently have the ability to sniff out and locate odors, according to a new study by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley.

Student volunteers presented with odors to one nostril or the other could reliably discern where the odor was coming from, and functional magnetic resonance images of their brains showed that the brain is set up to pay attention to the difference between what the left and right nostrils sense, much the way it can localize sounds by contrasting input from the ears.

"It has been very controversial whether humans can do egocentric localization, that is, keep their head motionless and say where the spatial source of an odor is," said study coauthor Noam Sobel, associate professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and a member of the campus's Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. "It seems that we have this ability and that, with practice, you could become really good at it."