This image shows a section of the front part of the piriform cortex, an area of the brain involved in the sense of smell.
The layers have been stained with florescent antibodies to help US neuroscientists better distinguish key differences.
How mammals’ brains evolved to tell different smells apart has long been something of a mystery.
Now, researchers from the Salk Institute and UC San Diego report say they have discovered that at least six types of mammals – from mice to cats – distinguish odours in roughly the same way, using circuitry in the brain that’s evolutionarily preserved across species.
“The study yields insights into organisational principles underpinning brain circuitry for olfaction in mammals that may be applied to other parts of the brain and other species,” says Salk’s Charles Stevens.
The findings are reported in the journal Current Biology.
Originally published by Cosmos as Sniffing out clues to our sense of smell
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.