Activational effects of odours on avian navigation

Paulo E Jorge, Paulo A M Marques, John B Phillips
Proceedings. Biological Sciences 2010 January 7, 277 (1678): 45-9
The sensory basis of the navigational map remains one of the most important and intriguing questions in animal behaviour. In birds, odours have been hypothesized to provide the primary source of map information. Convincing tests have shown that experienced homing pigeons rely on map information obtained at sites where they are exposed to natural odours, even if subsequently released (without additional olfactory information) at a different site. These findings have been interpreted as support for the olfactory map hypothesis. Using this 'false-release-site' (FRS) approach, we compared the effects of exposure to natural odours with that of exposure to a series of artificial odours lacking spatial information. Our findings show that olfactory exposure to either natural or artificial odours at an FRS caused pigeons to rely on map information obtained at the FRS, even if subsequently released at the true-release site in the opposite direction from the home loft. Because artificial odours did not provide map information, however, the findings clearly demonstrate that olfactory exposure provides no navigational information to pigeons whatsoever; instead it activates an independent non-olfactory map system. This test decisively contradicts the olfactory map hypothesis, which predicts that olfactory cues are the primary source of navigational information used by birds.

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"