Phylogenic outline of the olfactory system in vertebrates

J Vet Med Sci. 2011 Feb;73(2):139-47. doi: 10.1292/jvms.10-0316. Epub 2010 Sep 22.


Phylogenic outline of the vertebrate olfactory system is summarized in the present review. In the fish and the birds, the olfactory system consists only of the olfactory epithelium (OE) and the olfactory bulb (B). In the amphibians, reptiles and mammals, the olfactory system is subdivided into the main olfactory and the vomeronasal olfactory systems, and the former consists of the OE and the main olfactory bulb (MOB), while the latter the vomeronasal organ (VNO) and the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB). The subdivision of the olfactory system into the main and the vomeronasal olfactory systems may partly be induced by the difference between paraphyletic groups and monophyletic groups in the phylogeny of vertebrates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Olfactory Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Phylogeny
  • Vertebrates / anatomy & histology*
  • Vertebrates / genetics