Dogs are renowned for their ability to identify and track objects by scent. Now it’s been revealed they enhance this talent with special brain structures that link it to how they see. A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed that vision and the sense of smell are connected in the brains of dogs, something not yet found in any other species. Scientists studied MRI scans of the brains of 23 dogs that showed neurological connections between the olfactory bulb, where smells are recognized, and their occipital lobe, where vision is processed. “Scent contributes to the visual cortex in dogs, but a dog’s experience is hard for us to know. But I think they can use scent to work out where things are,” said Philippa Johnson, one of the scientists involved in the study. Johnson and her colleagues are planning more studies to examine the brains of other animals, such as cats and horses, that depend heavily on the sense of smell.

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