Feeds

SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans

Junk in the trunk? That's what people have

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Few people can fail to notice that an elephant's appendage is way bigger than a dog's, but it may come as more surprise that it can use it better too.

Boffins have named elephants as the top sniffers in the animal kingdom, possessing twice as many functional olfactory receptors (ORs) genes as hounds. ORs help organisms detect odours in their environments.

Proving that Dumbo really is the mutt's nuts, the researchers also found that pachyderms outclassed the olfactory abilities of the rat - once thought to have the best nose of any animal.

"Rats had the record for the largest number of [these] genes," said Yoshiihito Niimura, a molecular evolution researcher at The University of Tokyo in Japan. "Elephants have much more. It's almost double, so it's very surprising."

To analyse different animals' smelling abilities, boffins examined genome sequences from 13 different mammals, examining a total of 10,000 genes.

They found that each mammal's smell genes were highly unique, with just three shared between them.

An elephant has a mammoth 2,000 olfactory receptor genes, whereas humans have far fewer, as we stopped relying on our nose way back in the mists of evolutionary time.

The animals examined in the study are all descended from a common ancestor that lived 100 million years ago and is thought to have 781 OR genes.

All the primates in the study lost more than half of all their smell genes during the process of evolution. Orangutans, for instance, shed some 70 per cent of their olfactory receptor genes. Humans have just 396 OR genes left and just one passed down from the common ancestor.

The study is published in the journal Genome Research. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.