Prof. Dominy in "Something Wild" by NHPR

Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences, Nate Dominy, was in today's -May 25, 2018-  NHPR radio show Something Wild by Andrew Parrella, Dave Anderson, and Chris Martin.

Smell that Olfactory

"The sense of smell among other sensory systems are relatively unchanged throughout mammalian history. As Nate Dominy, professor of anthropology and biological sciences at Dartmouth, says, “a lot of the traits we see in mammals are retention of those basic traits.”

Dominy suggested our olfactory sense was really important to our proto-mammalian ancestors. Picture it, it’s 70-80 million years ago, “dinosaurs and bird ancestors were dominating the diurnal landscape, so mammals are thought to be the subordinate creatures. There’s no way they could compete, so the only recourse was to be active at night.” And since there wasn’t a lot of light to see by, “they would have been highly dependent on olfaction for navigating through their environment, for detecting food resources” and just about everything else."

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Photo used in article homepage is courtesy of  Tony Alter via Flickr/Creative Commons.