Elephants’ Sense of Smell is on the Nose

Elephant in the Serengeti. Photo from an Ujuzi safari to Tanzania.

With their long trunks and poor eyesight, science has long known that elephants depend on smell to navigate their surroundings. It has now been shown that African elephants have 2,000 genes related to the sense of smell—twice the number found in dogs and more than in any other mammal that has been studied.

Elephants use their sense of smell to find food, of course. But they also use it to recognize other elephants, stay away from predators, and even to figure out whether or not a particular human might be a threat. You can read more about the discovery on the National Geographic website.

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