Activational rather than navigational effects of odors on homing of young pigeons

Paulo E Jorge, Alice E Marques, John B Phillips
Current Biology: CB 2009 April 28, 19 (8): 650-4
Olfaction plays many well-established roles in vertebrate sensory perception [1, 2]. More controversial is the claim that olfactory cues underlie the large-scale geographic "map" sense used by birds and other vertebrates [3, 4]. The most common procedure used to investigate the role of odors in avian homing is to experimentally produce anosmia and/or block access to natural odors [4, 5]. Although by no means universal in their results, many of these experiments have shown disorientation and/or decreased homing success [6-8], generally interpreted as evidence for the olfactory map hypothesis. Here, in addition to control (CO) birds exposed to natural odors and birds deprived of odors ("no odor"; NO) during displacement to unfamiliar release sites, we included a group exposed to artificial odors ("novel odors"; NV) that could not provide navigational information [9]. Although all groups had access to natural odors at release sites, the vanishing bearings of NO birds were disoriented, whereas those of NV birds were homeward oriented and indistinguishable from those of CO birds. These findings show that odors, rather than providing navigational information, activate a nonolfactory path integration system.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"