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Article dans une revue

Social olfaction in marine mammals: wild female Australian sea lions can identify their pup's scent.

Abstract : Historically, anatomical evidence has suggested that marine mammals are anosmic or at best microsmatic, i.e. absent or reduced olfactory capabilities. However, these neuroanatomical considerations may not be appropriate predictors for the use of olfaction in social interactions. Observations suggest that pinnipeds may use olfaction in mother-pup interactions, accepting or rejecting pups after naso-nasal contact. Such maternal-offspring recognition is a favourable area for investigating the involvement of odours in social recognition and selectivity, as females are evolutionarily constrained to direct resources to filial young. However, there is no experimental, morphological or chemical evidence to date for the use of olfaction in social contexts and for individual odour recognition abilities in pinnipeds. Here, we report unequivocal evidence that Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) females can differentiate between the odour of their own pup and that of another, in the absence of any other distinguishing cues. This study demonstrates individual olfactory recognition in a free-ranging wild mammal and is clear evidence of the social function of olfaction in a marine mammal.
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Soumis le : mardi 20 mars 2012 - 14:52:01
Dernière modification le : mercredi 16 février 2022 - 03:02:15

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Benjamin J Pitcher, Robert G Harcourt, Benoist Schaal, Isabelle Charrier. Social olfaction in marine mammals: wild female Australian sea lions can identify their pup's scent.. Biology Letters, Royal Society, The, 2011, 7 (1), pp.60-2. ⟨10.1098/rsbl.2010.0569⟩. ⟨hal-00680957⟩



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