Aquatic adaptation and the evolution of smell and taste in whales.

Title

Aquatic adaptation and the evolution of smell and taste in whales.

Creator

Kishida Takushi; Thewissen J G M; Hayakawa Takashi; Imai Hiroo; Agata Kiyokazu

Publisher

Zoological letters

Date

2015
1905-07

Description

INTRODUCTION: While olfaction is one of the most important senses in most terrestrial mammals, it is absent in modern toothed whales (Odontoceti, Cetacea). Furthermore, behavioral evidence suggests that gustation is very limited. In contrast, their aquatic sistergroup, baleen whales (Mysticeti) retain small but functional olfactory organs, and nothing is known about their gustation. It is difficult to investigate mysticete chemosensory abilities because experiments in a controlled setting are impossible. RESULTS: Here, we use the functional regionalization of the olfactory bulb (OB) to identify the loss of specific olfactory functions in mysticetes. We provide the whole-genome sequence of a mysticete and show that mysticetes lack the dorsal domain of the OB, an area known to induce innate avoidance behavior against odors of predators and spoiled foods. Genomic and fossil data suggest that mysticetes lost the dorsal domain of the OB before the Odontoceti-Mysticeti split. Furthermore, we found that all modern cetaceans are revealed to have lost the functional taste receptors. CONCLUSION: These results strongly indicate that profound changes in the chemosensory capabilities had occurred in the cetacean lineage during the period when ancestral whales migrated from land to water.

Subject

Antarctic minke whale genome; Archaeoceti; Cetacea; Chemoreception; Olfactory bulb

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

9–9

Volume

1

Citation

Kishida Takushi; Thewissen J G M; Hayakawa Takashi; Imai Hiroo; Agata Kiyokazu, “Aquatic adaptation and the evolution of smell and taste in whales.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed September 25, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/4873.

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