- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
ScienceShot: Homing Pigeons Follow Their Noses
27 January 2011 5:10 pm
Next time you have a cold, be glad you're not a messenger pigeon carrying important orders over a battlefield. Breathing through both nostrils, especially the right one, is essential to these birds' famed ability to fly away home, scientists report today in the Journal of Experimental Biology. The researchers saddled a group of homing pigeons with GPS tracking devices, placed a rubber plug in either their right or left nostrils, and released them 25 miles outside of their home in Pisa, Italy. Pigeons with their left nostrils blocked had a little more trouble navigating than clear-nosed pigeons, but eventually made it home. Birds with their right nostrils blocked made it back, too, but they stopped more often and took an even more circular route than the others. The researchers believe that the birds needed time to gather more smells and construct a map based on odors in the wind. And the finding that the right nostril is the better sniffer suggests that the right and left hemispheres of bird brains have different functions.
See more ScienceShots.