Numerous mammals possess a “sense” that people lack – the Flehmen response. This useful type of communication varieties a part of the olfactory system and entails the Vomeronasal organ (or Jacobson’s organ) and the decryption of chemical messages.
The Flehmen response happens in quite a lot of mammals from the smallest subject mouse to massive carnivores such because the Cheetah and Lion, and the bigger ungulates/near-ungulates corresponding to Rhino and Elephants!
This distinctive organ is related to the nostril and/or mouth, and responds to each smells and tastes by detecting moisture-borne chemical indicators. This type of communication is recognisable by the facial features of people upon detecting a scent, aptly termed – the flehmen “grimace”.
The obvious expression of the Flehmen response is the curling of the higher lip and wrinkling of the nostrils (as seen with the Lion and Zebra) nonetheless it may also be noticed extra subtly, corresponding to this Cheetah pictured beneath merely opening his mouth and inhaling, or an Elephant touching an object with its trunk after which inserting the trunk tip into the mouth.
One principally associates the Flehmen response with a male particular person testing a feminine’s “reproductive standing” however in reality there are numerous further cues delivered by the discharge of pheromones, from particular person recognition (good friend or foe?), state of mind, and even to location recall, many cues that analysis is but to know.
In reality, we are able to solely make guesses as to the content material of those chemical messages that animals go between themselves, in order we watch them within the subject, we attempt to discern all we are able to. And though we don’t have our personal “sixth sense”, we do have our personal capacity to ponder, think about, and analysis to additional our data on the fantastic puzzle of wildlife.
– Textual content by Conservation Course & Coaching Supervisor, Megan Hudson