@ 2008.07.27 , 21:52
50

会飞的寻血猎犬?

会飞的寻血猎犬?
隼最著名的特质是其卓越的视力,猫头鹰则具有非凡的听力,但是关于鸟类嗅觉的证据却少而又少。然则,最新的分析报告表明,在鸟类中嗅觉是普遍存在的本能。这或许意味着,鸟类的嗅觉比我们推测得要好得多。

研究人员感兴趣的往往是鸟类华丽的外表,悠扬的歌声或者别的什么天赋,而关于嗅觉领域的研究则有待开发。大量的研究暗示着嗅觉可能是鸟类行为中重要的一环,但是相关的基本生物学理论却知之甚少。

最新的一项由分子生态学家Silke Steiger和他的研究生顾问Bart Kempenaers带领的研究(来自德国Starnberg的Max Planck鸟类研究所),关于隶属于同一大类的7种鸟类所共有的9种有代表性的嗅觉相关的基因。他们期望找到专用于侦测气味的嗅觉感受器。研究员们总是倾向于假设嗅觉卓越的动物们有着数量庞大的嗅觉感受器。举例说,老鼠有1000个作用于嗅探的感受器,人类大致是400个。

根据这个逻辑,Steiger的研究对象中被认为是嗅觉最为敏锐的是鸮鹉,这是一种罕见的夜行性的新英格兰本土鸟类。据估计鸮鹉有667个起作用的嗅觉感受器。同样是新西兰的另一种夜行性鸟类——棕色奇异鸟有600个嗅觉感受器。Steiger认为敏锐的嗅觉有助于夜行性鸟类在晚间寻找食物。桃红鹦鹉(也叫粉红美冠鹦鹉),澳大利亚美冠鹦鹉的一种,其嗅觉天赋还没有研究过,然则,估计也得有107个嗅觉感受器吧。“鸟类的嗅觉可能相当于人类,或者说鸟类的嗅觉很有可能优于人类。” Steiger说。她同时认为,嗅觉感受器的数量只是一个大致的指标。更多的遗传学和行为科学的研究会更有助于估计它们的嗅觉能力。

Link

注:
1. 寻血猎犬 别名圣·休伯特猎犬(st.hubert hound)世界上最著名的也是体型最大的嗅觉猎犬之一。具有不屈不挠神奇的嗅觉追踪能力,有事实证明即使是超过14天的气味,也能追踪到。并且创造了连续追踪气味220公里的纪录。它所发现的证据曾经作为法庭呈堂证据。(by百度百科

2.配图是鸮鹉(kakapo),一种夜行性的鹦鹉。

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