Moles Smell in Stereo

Study says they get signals from both nostrils

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 6, 2013 3:21 PM CST

(Newser) – The common mole is blind and mostly deaf, which means it relies on its nose to find dinner. Not a problem: A study at Vanderbilt University makes the case that moles smell in stereo. Researchers who watched a mole sniff out a meal determined that the little critter relied on signals from both nostrils to zero in on it. (This involved plugging one nostril and then the other, and mixing up the signals in other ways.)

Some scientists have previously suggested that rats and possibly humans smell in stereo, notes National Geographic, but the Vanderbilt study seems to be the first to prove the concept scientifically. “The fact that moles use stereo odor cues to locate food suggests other mammals that rely heavily on their sense of smell, like dogs and pigs, might also have this ability," says lead researcher Kenneth Catania.

Moles can smell in stereo, a new study suggests.
Moles can smell in stereo, a new study suggests.   (Shutterstock)
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The Vanderbilt experiment.   (YouTube)

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