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Animal Chemical Sensitivity

Humans use their chemical senses in many facets of their lives, yet their abilities pale in comparison with those of most animals. Everyday demonstrations of the chemosensory prowess of animals include dogs tracking invisible chemical trails, mosquitoes homing in on human meals, and game fish lured to baited hooks. The chemicals, sensors that detect them, neural pathways that process them, and roles in the life history of animals are as diverse as are the animals themselves. This entry explores the nature and biological basis of such animal chemical sensitivity.

What is the Chemical World of Animals?

Jakob von Uexküll, in the early 1900s, emphasized that the “umwelt,” or sensory world, of each animal species is unique to it, being shaped through evolution to include those stimuli ...

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