“Beasts of science” is like a collection of stories. Beautiful stories that tell the living in all its freshness. But also in all its complexity. A parenthesis to marvel at the treasures of the world. For this new episode, once again, let’s go back to the one who has become our best friend: the dog.
When it sniffs the droppings, it’s a little annoying. We have to admit it. But when it sniffles, bombs, victims of disasters or even diseases, it is immediately much more interesting. And it’s been known for a long time, the dog has a exceptional.
When you look closer, it’s not very surprising. Thewho hides in the has an area 50 times larger than that found in our . It consists of 200 million to 1 billion smell. For comparison, ours, always of nose, does not count more than 5 million!
Side, same conclusion. The dog’s olfactory bulb — understand the region of the brain that processes messages sent by scent sensors — is up to 30 times larger than that of humans. With approximately 40 times more cells dedicated to odor analysis.
And all that is without mentioning the surprising organ that thecall vomeronasal organ. It is placed in the upper palate of the dog. Connected to the nose by two small channels. Thanks to it, the dog can analyze odors with incredible finesse. Even when the fragrant are not legion.
Smell and sight connected to each other
The extraordinary power of the dog could already seem to have no more secrets for scientists. But that would be to forget their boundless curiosity. Because despite everything, they remained puzzled by a dog whoseappears a million times more efficient than ours. So they used an advanced neuroimaging technique to try to locate the paths taken by the in the dog’s brain. The white matter is the one that transports information between brain areas. Millions of cables surrounded by a fat, the .
Researchers at #CornellVet have provided the first documentation that dogs’ sense of smell is integrated with their vision + other unique parts of the brain, revealing how dogs experience + navigate the world. Dr. Pip Johnson is the study’s senior author.https://t.co/FWoyKr6mlq
— Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine (@cornellvet) July 18, 2022
Twenty dogs took part in the experiment. Dogs all pretty good sniffers, let’s face it. And what the researchers observed were, first of all, connections between the olfactory bulb — which is located behind theof the dog — and the and the piriform lobe. This is where the brain processes memory and . Connections similar to those found at home. These same connections that immerse us in our childhood with the simple smell of hot chocolate. No wonder, so far. But the researchers also discovered connections they didn’t expect at all. Because such connections have never been observed in any other animal species. Not even in humans. connections with the and with the occipital lobe.
The occipital lobe is the region of the brain that processes… visual information! Yes, you read that right. In dogs, smell and sight are connected by the brain. Some scientists assumed so. But this time, it’s proven. This also explains how dogs that have become blind manage to orient themselves so well in their environment. Much better than us. Good news for humans who share the life of a dog. And one more sign that ouris not so stupid!