Did You Know? African Elephants Have The Best Sense Of Smell In The Animal Kingdom
Researchers have confirmed that the African Elephants’s sense of smell is legendary. It is scientifically proven that the African elephant has the most powerful sense of smell in the entire animal kingdom.
Researchers examined the olfactory receptor (OR) repertoire encoded in 13 mammalian species and found that African elephants have the largest number of OR genes ever characterized; more than twice that found in dogs and five times more than in humans.
They also examined genome sequences from 13 placental mammals and identified over 10,000 OR genes in total. The repertoire of OR genes found in any given species was highly unique only three OR genes were shared and evolutionarily conserved amongst all 13 mammals. Surprisingly, the African elephant had the most extensive olfactory repertoire, with almost 2,000 OR genes.
On the contrary, humans along with our primate relatives have much fewer numbers of OR genes compared to all other species examined, possibly as a result of our diminished reliance on smell as our visual acuity improved. Sense of smell is critical for survival in many mammals. The ability to distinguish different odors, which is important for sniffing out food, avoiding predators and finding mates, depends on the number and type olfactory receptors found in an organism’s genome.