When we were younger all we really thought about penguins were how cute they were and how they waddled. We didn’t really understand their environments and how smart they really are. It made me wonder, how smart are penguins?
Penguins may be able to smell kinship on others of their kind. Penguins live in the wild so being able to smell relatives could be helpful. In a study in the Brookfield Zoo showed that the penguins could pick out the odors they were familiar with and odors they weren’t familiar with. Also, they were able to decide which penguins were there relatives and ones that weren’t related to them.
Researchers have found that since penguins have such a great sense of smell they could help experts design programmers to preserve endangered species. Also, scientists have found that penguins travel for several days in search of prey, they are still able to find each other and return to their colony. Having a wonderful sense of smell also helps penguins get along with the birds nearby. Researchers have concluded that birds have a much better developed sense of smell than they thought.
Penguins use their sense of smell to sniff out their relatives, but also to find mates. Their skill is useful because they can prevent inbreeding and have healthy offspring. Researchers have found that offspring return to the same colony to nest. So, their good sense of smell can help prevent siblings becoming mates. The ability to recognize familiar scents has a potential value to naturalists.
In a experiment, penguins with mates preferred the scent of their mates over the scent of unfamiliar penguins. In the other experiment, the penguins without mates spent twice as long smelling unfamiliar penguins’ scents than the scents of their close relatives. Penguins are also able to use their sense of smell for helping reunite penguins in their crowded colonies. Their sense of smell is also helpful in being able to recognize familiar nests.
What other animals can sniff out relatives? What makes the penguins be able to smell out their relatives? How can penguins great sense of smell help naturalists?