Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Petitions (CLOSED)

I have started two petitions. Here are the addresses for them if you would like to sign them:




  1. Haley, I have a dolphin question...about their sense of smell. I have two conflicting bits of information presented to me. I listened to a speaker today who touched on comparative brain anatomy in several species. A picture indicated the dolphin brain to have large olfactory bulbs and the speaker said they have a tremendous sense of smell. That sounds reasonable. I saw a web site, however, that said olfactory lobes are absent in all toothed whales, indicating that they have a limited sense of smell. That sounds believable too. Perhaps Professor K would know if I'm getting some of the terms mixed up (e.g., is a dolphin a toothed whale? are terms like olfactory bulb and lobe and nerve interchangeable?). Regardless, do you think the dolphin has a good sense of smell or a bad sense of smell? Do they need a sense of smell? Do they smell the fish they eat?

  2. Yes, dolphins are toothed whales. I don't know what olfactory bulbs and lobes are, but Professor K should. I had always thought that dolphins had hardly any sense of smell at all, but great eyesight and hearing. They don't exactly need a sense of smell. Instead, they have an interesting ability called echolocation, present in all bats and cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). On their head, they have an echolocation organ called the melon. They send out sound waves, which echo back from objects telling the animal where and how close the object is. Thanks to this amazing technique, they would not need to smell fish. I will let Professor K know about olfactory bulbs and lobes, and I will have him get back to you.

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  4. Another thing I just found out is that it was just discovered in 2010 that bowhead whales (which are baleen whales)have an ability to smell the air. It is a mystery though, because they have echolocation just like toothed whales. I wonder why they would need olfaction.


  5. Well, I have done some research on dolphins' sense of smell. Three websites, including seaworld.org, stated that all toothed whales lack olfactory bulbs/lobes/tract. One website said that the olfactory tract and bulbs are present in the stage of fetal development. It seems like that dolphins have no sense of smell. Their sight, hearing, touch, and taste senses are excellent though. They don't need really smell at all. So I don't know what the speaker was talking about.

    The first paragraph of this passage explains the absence of the olfactory receptors very well.


  6. Thanks Haley. I think you are right and that dolphins have little or no sense of smell. The speaker I listened to wasn't an expert on dolphins or the sense of smell -- he was using comparative brain anatomy to make a different point. He either misspoke or I misunderstood. The resources you provided are similar to what I found myself. I'm voting that a sense of smell is not too important for dolphins...and that they rely more on sight and hearing. By the way, my sense of smell is not that good either, but I'm not a dolphin.

  7. You're welcome:) I am glad that you agree with me

  8. I accidentally closed window after typing! :(
    Here goes again.
    Hi Haley, two things. First, a question. Do you have a list of whales and conservation status like the one you put together for dolphins on this page? Second, while looking at your nice post about dolphins, I saw that you didn't like your finless dolphin picture. I found a couple you might be interested in.
    Hope you're nice and warm. It's snowy and cold here.

  9. I do not have a list of whales, but I can definitely make one.:) Thank you very much!

    Here where I live, it does NOT feel like January. It has been in the 70s lately.

  10. I replaced my pic with two (I couldn't decide which one so I just decided to put both) of the ones you found. Thank you again!