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Elephants Possess The Best Sense Of Smell Among All Mammals

Update Date: Jul 23, 2014 05:15 PM EDT

Elephants have the best sense of smell of all mammals, according to a new study.

The study, considering 13 mammals, concluded that African elephants were the best sniffers, possessing the largest number of genes associated with smell.

According to the study, elephants possess more olfactory receptor (OR) genes than any species ever recorded.

The study examined more than 10,000 different OR genes. Elephants contain about 2,000 of the organic structures whereas humans have only 400 types the olfactory receptors.

"The functions of these genes are not well known, but they are likely important for the living environment of African elephants. Apparently, an elephant's nose is not only long but also superior," Yoshihito Niimura, study co-author, said in a press release.

Previously studies have shown elephants are nearly as good as mice at identifying individual smells. Mice possess almost 1,300 varieties of the genes in their noses.

According to the study, the low number of OR genes in humans might be due to our visual acuity.

The study added that the presence of repertoire of smell in any species is determined by constant duplication of genes.

The study has been published in the journal Genome Research.

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