Birds May Identify Their Relatives By Smell

Birds May Identify Their Relatives By Smell

Penguins appear to use smell to determine if they are related to a potential mate, which suggests birds may have a more highly developed sense of smell than researchers previously thought.

Penguins are ideal subjects because they typically live in colonies made up of thousands of birds. They live in monogamous pairs—an arrangement that facilitates rearing of their young, since parents frequently take turns leaving the nest to gather food. Despite the size of the community, mates are able to find each other after traveling for days foraging for food in the ocean.

“Smell is likely the primary mechanism for kin recognition to avoid inbreeding within the colony,” says Heather Coffin, who conducted the research while a graduate student at the University of Chicago.

Full story at Futurity.

(Photo credit: Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society)

Share this Story
Load More Related Articles

Facebook Comments

You Might Also Like

This Time-Lapse Photo Series of a Nude Dancer is Breathtaking

New York-based photographer Shinichi Maruyama combined more than 10,000 photos to make the perfect captures of a human being in motion.

ADVERTISEMENT

Get inspiration in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter.