22 October 2008

Some Birds May Smell Sexier

Kakapo (Strigops habroptila), Critically Endangered

The Kakapo, featured here several times, might benefit from a little cologne it appears. Scientists working with the Kakapo breeding program, noticed that a few of the males received significantly more attention than others, and they think it may have to do with the birds' body odor. To find out, they're sending feathers to Tom Goodwin, an animal olfactory chemist in Arkansas.

Because the Kakapo's population dropped to a gene-pool-reducing 91 individuals, genetic diversity is very important to their survival. If most of the females are only breeding with a few males, the gene-pool could remain dangerously small. If a synthetic perfume that makes less attractive males seem sexier can be developed, their genes would also get remixed into the overall population, increasing the diversity of the gene-pool.

If you want to help save the Kakapo, you can donate, become more informed, or get hands on and volunteer with the Kakapo Recovery Programme.

1 comment:

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