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A nose that can see

By August 5, 2022January 11th, 2023No Comments

In the dog brain, sturdy neural tracts run from the olfactory bulb (bottom left) to five distinct spots. A newfound connection (orange) links the olfactory system to vision, something that has so far been found only in dogs. The others lead to the cortical spinal tract (turquoise path), which helps trigger instinctual behaviors; the piriform lobe (green path), which may play a role in odor perception; the limbic system (blue path), which is involved with behavior and emotion; and the entorhinal cortex (pink path), which helps handle memory.

Dogs use all their senses to evaluate their environment. But this newfound connection between smell and sight suggests that the two are intricately linked. Perhaps this anatomical link could be why smell can often compensate when a dog’s sight goes, Johnson says. “Blind dogs can still play fetch.”

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This is the first documentation of a direct connection between the olfactory bulb and occipital lobe in any species and is a step towards further understanding how the dog integrates olfactory stimuli in their cognitive function.

Referenced paper

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