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Elephants' have impressive ability to sniff out quantities with their noses, reveals study

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Elephants are among the smarter animals, and they have a really good sense of smell-far better than dogs. A new study has revealed that the pachyderms can also judge food quantity merely by using their sense of smell, the first time an animal has been shown to do this.

Representational Image

An elephant's trunk is good for more than bringing food to his mouth and squirting water over his back, it's well designed to work as a nose.

According to the study led by City University of New York, most species, including humans, are able to distinguish between larger and smaller quantities visually, but elephants are one of the many animals who use smell as a second sense.

The researchers loaded up two buckets with sunflower seeds, locking lids with small holes in them onto the buckets and then allowing a single elephant to sniff both for a few moments.

The researchers then loosened the lids and presented the elephant with the buckets again, noting which the elephant chose to open and dive into first. They repeated the experiment several times with several different elephants, while also varying the amounts of sunflower seeds in the buckets.

The animals chose the bucket with the greater quantity of food 59% to 82% of the time, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers point out that this is the first example ever documented of an animal being able to differentiate between food quantities by smell alone.

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