Partner-Specific Odor Recognition in an Antarctic Seabird

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Science  29 Oct 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5697, pp. 835
DOI: 10.1126/science.1103001

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Among birds, the Procellariiform seabirds (petrels, albatrosses, and shearwaters) are prime candidates for using chemical cues for individual recognition. These birds have an excellent olfactory sense, and a variety of species nest in burrows that they can recognize by smell. However, the nature of the olfactory signature--the scent that makes one burrow smell more like home than another--has not been established for any species. Here, we explore the use of intraspecific chemical cues in burrow recognition and present evidence for partner-specific odor recognition in a bird.

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