Why rats sniff each other?

13.03.2013

 

It is known that openly communicate with each other are the only people rats is used to communicate the sense of smell. They can learn a lot about each other through smell — Female Is it? Whether we be friends with her? Who is affected? What did he eat? Rarely people can find out as much information about the interlocutor through a normal conversation.

New research shows that the act of sniffing can have a social function, allowing the rats to determine their hierarchical status and maintain power.

Neurosurgeon Daniel Wasson studied the behavior of a pair of rats in a confined space. The first observations have shown that when a rat sniffing at the beginning of the body and the back of the torso another, its example was followed by others. When one rat began sniffing snout another, she immediately gave up the ceremony. Further studies have shown that when rats began to sniff at some of the muzzle of the dominant species (and most aggressive), they not only did not stop sniffing in response, but did so intense. When the dominant individual sniffing snout and head of smaller individuals, and those ceased to do so, large rats showed aggression — biting and jumping on small rats. The scientist concluded that with the help of sniffing large individuals establish their authority, and the small comfort of large, to prevent acts of aggression.

Wasson same results observed when rats suppressed the olfactory sense, which proves his theory that for rats important action itself, and not of odors. When the scientists injected some rats oxytocin, a chemical that reduces the sense of hierarchy, aggression in rats significantly decreased.

It is not clear why sniffing snout bears a social function, and sniffing the other parts of the body do not have that much. Wasson suggested that the rats face to face communication is very dangerous, as the wound in the throat or neck can be fatal.

"When animals are face to face with each other, they have to be careful to avoid the risk of conflict — said Wasson. — It is also possible that only a short distance, some animals can get detailed information about each other. "


The scientist said he hoped to further explore the intricacies of the brain activity of animals, but also understand why they become aggressive or why are experiencing problems communicating with other individuals.

 

Translation Sergei Vasilenkova

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