What is olfaction?

What is olfaction?

Olfaction is the sense of smell.

Olfaction is a chemoreception that forms the sense of smell.

In most animals, olfaction occurs in the nose through holes called nostrils.

Some animals, such as snakes, have a vomeronasal organ located between the nose and mouth that is used to smell prey. Snakes stick out their tongue and then touch it to the vomeronasal organ.

CREATURE FEATURE: Koala

The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal (tree-living) marsupial, found in eastern and southern coastal Australia. It is related to the wombat. It is not a bear.

The Koala has soft, short silver-grey to brown fur. It is a rounded, short animal with a large head with round, fluffy ears. Its underbelly is white. It has no tail. Its nose is black and distinct, and covered with leathery skin. It has curved, sharp claws for climbing trees. The first and second digits on its fore-paws are opposable, enabling it to grasp tree branches. The second and third digits on the hind-paws are fused together. Males have chest glands, which are visible.

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Savannah Monitor Lizard

The Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus) is a medium-sized African lizard, living in East Africa, southern Africa, and some areas of West Africa. It is a reptile.

The Savannah Monitor Lizard has a blackish or dark grey body, with five or six rows of yellow blotches, but there can be other colour variations. It has a broad, bulbous snout and a rounded tail. It has short legs.

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South American Coatimundi

The South American Coatimundi (Nasua nasua), generally called the Coati or Ring-Tailed Coati, is a member of the raccoon family.

The South American Coatimundi has variable coloured fur, but mostly brown-grey or black. It has dark rings on its tail that can be quite pronounced or faintly-coloured. It has a long snout, with sharp canine teeth, small ears, dark feet, bear-like paws, and long, sharp non-retractable claws.

Its snout (nose) is slightly upturned with an acute sense of smell. It is extremely flexible, able to rotate up to 60° in any direction.

It is double-jointed and their ankles can rotate beyond 180° so that they are able to descend trees head first.

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RESEARCH: Why do some animals have wet noses?

Dogs have a lot more nerve cells in their nasal (nose) cavities (their nostrils) than humans do. Dogs also have and a wider variety of receptors that attract odour molecules.

A research team led by Brent Craven of Pennsylvania State University in University Park in 2008 has shown that dogs can sort smells into categories before the information gets to their brains. The brain then identifies the smell.

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