Wednesday February 6th 2013
I too thought "the moles’ nostrils were too
close together to effectively detect odor gradients." To make absolutely
certain that they were not too close together, a great mind used a
plastic tube to block one of the Moles' nostrils. If the right
nostril was blocked, the Mole "veered" to the left as it followed scent.
And if the left nostril was blocked the mole "veered" to the right. The
study by Kenneth Catania was called, "Stereo and Serial Sniffing
Guide Navigation to an Odor Source in Mammals."
Even more surprising than actually getting a Mole to
cooperate in a laboratory setting, hold still while plastic tubes were
stuffed in his nostrils, is the idea of deciding upon a Mole as a test
representative for Mammals that sniff. I can only imagine that when
not underground Moles become perfectly polite, caring and friendly.
Say things like "Have a nice Day," wear top hats, carry a cane, are good
conversationalists, probably enjoy the odd cocktail. And well worth
reading Kenneth Catania's engrossing study, "Worm Grunting, Fiddling, and
Charming - Humans Unknowingly Mimic a Predator to Harvest Bait." Which
oddly enough is also about Moles.