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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Olfactory sensitivity for carboxylic acids in spider monkeys and pigtail macaques.

Using a conditioning paradigm, the olfactory sensitivity of four spider monkeys and four pigtail macaques for a homologous series of carboxylic acids (n-propionic acid to n-heptanoic acid) was investigated. With only few exceptions, the animals of both species significantly discriminated concentrations <1 p.p.m. from the odorless solvent and in several cases individual monkeys even demonstrated thresholds <1 p.p.b. The results showed (i). both primate species to have a well-developed olfactory sensitivity for carboxylic acids, which for some substances matches or even is markedly better than that of species such as the rat or the dog and (ii). a significant correlation between perceptibility in terms of olfactory detection thresholds and carbon chain length of the carboxylic acids in both species tested. These findings lend further support to the growing body of evidence suggesting that between-species comparisons of the number of functional olfactory receptor genes or of neuroanatomical features are poor predictors of olfactory performance, and that general labels such as 'microsmat' or 'macrosmat'-which usually are based on allometric comparisons of olfactory brain structures-are inadequate to describe a species' olfactory capabilities.[1]


  1. Olfactory sensitivity for carboxylic acids in spider monkeys and pigtail macaques. Laska, M., Wieser, A., Rivas Bautista, R.M., Hernandez Salazar, L.T. Chem. Senses (2004) [Pubmed]
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