Following the Scent of Avian Olfaction

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Science  22 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5440, pp. 704-705
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5440.704

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Recent discoveries have shown that, contrary to what was previously thought, olfaction is important for birds. Even birds with relatively small olfactory bulbs--the brain tissue responsible for discriminating a sickening stench from a fragrant aroma--can not only sense odors, but also use them to find food, select prime nesting material, and navigate across vast stretches of unknown terrain. Such findings could also have practical applications in bird conservation and in the poultry industry.