The brain of the tree pangolin (Manis tricuspis). II. The olfactory system

Document Type



Brain and Mind Institute


This study employed a range of neuroanatomical stains to determine the organization of the main and accessory olfactory systems within the brain of the tree pangolin. The tree pangolin has a typically mammalian olfactory system, but minor variations were observed. The main olfactory system is comprised of the layered main olfactory bulb (MOB), the anterior olfactory nucleus (AON), the rostral olfactory cortex (including the taenia tecta, anterior hippocampal continuation and induseum griseum), the olfactory tubercle (Tu), the lateral olfactory tract (lot) and the olfactory limb of the anterior commissure, the nucleus of the lateral olfactory tract (NLOT), the piriform cortex (PIR) and a typically mammalian rostral migratory stream (RMS). The accessory olfactory system included the layered accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) and the nucleus of the accessory olfactory tract (NAOT). Volumetric analysis of the relative size of the MOB and PIR indicate that the tree pangolin has an olfactory system that occupies a proportion of the brain typical for the majority of mammals. Within the MOB, the glomeruli of the tree pangolin, at 200 μm diameter, are larger than observed in most other mammalian species, and the MOB lacks a distinct internal plexiform layer. In addition, the laminate appearance of the NLOT was not observed in the tree pangolin. The accessory olfactory system appears to lack the posterior compartment of the accessory olfactory bulb. These observations are contextualized in relation to olfactory-mediated behaviors in pangolins.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Comparative Neurology