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Re: Feathered Bloodhounds
It seems to me that the "birds don't use scent" thing has to be wrong
if only for the fact that Old and New World Vultures have such keen
scent abilities. Since they are distantly related, I would have
thought smell receptors of a decent amount were plesiomorphic for that
Just a thought from the non-scientific side of the list...
On 19/07/2008, at 12:29 AM, don ohmes wrote:
Up front: the lit sez I was wrong about observable scent-driven
behavior (food location, mate recognition, navigation, nest
location). Would have nice to post after checking, as opposed to
before, but too late for that. O well, I was bound to be wrong
someday... as the old man used to say. Sometimes several times in a
The 'not using olfaction for predation avoidance' observation still
stands, but probably not for long. I always assumed that the eyes/
ears acuity combined w/ flight ability were such that smell never
Wouldn't be surprising if ostriches were found to be using scent to
maintain flight distance, given the other stuff that is out.
--- On Fri, 7/18/08, don ohmes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: don ohmes <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Feathered Bloodhounds
Date: Friday, July 18, 2008, 5:40 AM
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
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
information to avoid predation.
Nor have I observed birds engaged in any scent-driven
behaviors; sniffing each other, altering their route
investigate/avoid a source of odor, or just
the air'. Such behaviors can be observed on a
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
underlying assumptions is in order, because this one
doesn't pass the smell test.
--- On Thu, 7/17/08, Dann Pigdon
From: Dann Pigdon <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Feathered Bloodhounds
To: "DML" <email@example.com>
Date: Thursday, July 17, 2008, 10:54 PM
By Greg Miller, ScienceNOW Daily News
... In the new study, a team led by molecular
Silke Steiger and her graduate adviser Bart
Kempenaers at the Max Planck Institute for
Starnberg, Germany, searched for smell-
related genes in nine species representing seven
branches of the avian family tree. They
looked for genes that encode olfactory receptors,
detect odors. Researchers generally
assume that animals with a greater variety of
have a better sense of smell. Mice, for
example, have close to 1000 working olfactory
genes, and humans have roughly 400...
...the researchers reported online 15 July in the
Proceedings of the Royal Society B. "The
smell in birds may be as good as that of humans,
some cases, even better," Steiger says.
Read more at:
GIS / Archaeologist
John S. Wilkins, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Philosophy
University of Queensland - Blog: scienceblogs.com/evolvingthoughts
"He used... sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor,
bathos, puns, parody, litotes and... satire. He was vicious."