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Re: Feathered Bloodhounds

Having grown up in the country, I declare my extreme skepticism on practical 
grounds. In contrast to deer hunting: when duck, dove, quail, or turkey hunting 
one needs worry not a whit about which way the air is moving, whether one 
should smoke, or what detergent one's clothes were washed in. 

If the birds whose behavior I am familiar with are obtaining olfactory 
information, they are not using that information to avoid predation.

Nor have I observed birds engaged in any scent-driven behaviors; sniffing each 
other, altering their route to investigate/avoid a source of odor, or just 
'testing the air'. Such behaviors can be observed on a daily basis w/ many 
mammals, even humans...

If birds have good sniffers, they don't seem to be getting much bang for their 
buck. Maybe a re-examination of underlying assumptions is in order, because 
this one doesn't pass the smell test.


--- On Thu, 7/17/08, Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au> wrote:

> From: Dann Pigdon <dannj@alphalink.com.au>
> Subject: Feathered Bloodhounds
> To: "DML" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> Date: Thursday, July 17, 2008, 10:54 PM
> Feathered Bloodhounds?
> By Greg Miller, ScienceNOW Daily News
> ... In the new study, a team led by molecular ecologist
> Silke Steiger and her graduate adviser Bart 
> Kempenaers at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in
> Starnberg, Germany, searched for smell-
> related genes in nine species representing seven major
> branches of the avian family tree. They 
> looked for genes that encode olfactory receptors, which
> detect odors. Researchers generally 
> assume that animals with a greater variety of receptors
> have a better sense of smell. Mice, for 
> example, have close to 1000 working olfactory receptor
> genes, and humans have roughly 400...
> ...the researchers reported online 15 July in the
> Proceedings of the Royal Society B. "The sense of 
> smell in birds may be as good as that of humans, and in
> some cases, even better," Steiger says. 
> Read more at:
> http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/716/2
> -- 
> _____________________________________________________________
> Dann Pigdon
> GIS / Archaeologist             
> http://geo_cities.com/dannsdinosaurs
> Melbourne, Australia            
> http://heretichides.soffiles.com
> _____________________________________________________________