A new study suggests that dogs might use their sensitive noses to see and smell.
A team of veterinarians including Dr Philippa Johnson, Cornell University in New York discovered that dogs’ brains can actually sense smell and vision. This is something that has not been found in any other animal species.
The team performed MRI scans of a variety of dogs. They successfully mapped the olfactory bulbs (the brain that deals with smell) and the occipital lobes (the brain’s visual processing area), which shed new light on dogs’ experiences and navigation in the world.
It showed an “extensive path” connecting to both the occipital and limbic lobes, as well as the limbic system. This is the brain part responsible for emotional and behavioral responses.
These findings were published in the Journal of Neuroscience. They suggest that dogs use smell to find their way.
Sky News was told by Dr Johnson that humans use their vision to determine who is in a room and where the furniture is located. seems to incorporate scent into their perception of the environment and how they are oriented in it.
She said, “One of our ophthalmologists here at the hospital stated that he often sees owners who bring their dogs to the hospital, and when they test their eyesight, they are totally blind. But the owners won’t believe him.”
“The blind dogs behave completely normal. They can play fetch. They are able to orient themselves around their environment and don’t get sucked into anything.
Owners of dogs suffering from incurable eye disease could find it very comforting to know that there is an information freeway between these two areas.
Dr Johnson, Cornell assistant professor of clinical sciences and senior author, said, “We have never seen this link between the nose, the occipital, functionally, the visual cortex in dogs in any species.”
The team discovered connections between the brains of dogs and humans in the course their research.