Olfaction and brain size in the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus)

Title

Olfaction and brain size in the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus)

Creator

Thewissen J G M; George J; Rosa C; Kishida T

Publisher

Marine Mammal Science

Date

2011
2011-04

Description

P>Although there are several isolated references to the olfactory anatomy of mysticetes, it is usually thought that olfaction is rudimentary in this group. We investigated the olfactory anatomy of bowhead whales and found that these whales have a cribriform plate and small, but histologically complex olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb makes up approximately 0.13% of brain weight, unlike odontocetes where this structure is absent. We also determined that 51% of olfactory receptor genes were intact, unlike odontocetes, where this number is less than 25%. This suggests that bowheads have a sense of smell, and we speculate that they may use this to find aggregations of krill on which they feed.

Subject

anatomy; attraction; Balaena mysticetus; bowhead whale; brain; cetaceans; dimethyl sulfide; evolution; evolutionary dynamics; Marine & Freshwater Biology; olfaction; olfactory; primates; receptor gene repertoires; receptor genes; reduction; seabirds; subgenome; vertebrates; Zoology

Format

Journal Article

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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

282-294

Issue

2

Volume

27

Citation

Thewissen J G M; George J; Rosa C; Kishida T, “Olfaction and brain size in the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus),” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed May 16, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/7337.

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