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CLAW Self-growth Boards Information Education Computer New Meeting


Science College, General Science Dept


Smell and Taste


Lab or field trip:

I think this has covered a lot of information, and this lesson will end with a brief explanation of catnip and what it does to the senses. Some of the final exam will be based on any information you can give in experiments with catnip. This part of the lab or field trip will require some acquaintance with this plant. The essay that involves this experience will be worth around 10% of the exam, or twice the value of any other question, so I think it will be important to somehow gain the first hand knowledge of this plant and chemical reaction, as well as noting your observation of this reaction.

Catnip:

The plant is actually catmint, and the Latin name is Nepeta cataria. This is very similar to the plant Valeriana officinalis. The essence has even been isolated by scientists to be available in aerosol cans or added to cat toys. This is just so you know, it will not be on the exam. I don’t think you need to memorize the Latin names, in other words, just be able to recognize it. What is important is part of the observation of behavior and catnip. The behavior of many different cats, and even the wild varieties, seem to exhibit the similar characteristics. That is they sniff, chew, rub, roll and meow. The response, of course, varies from cat to cat…well, cats are individuals, right? But scientists have noticed that males get more excited than females. And in some cats, they have observed the flehmen reaction. But this is not true of all cats.

So the field trip, and a portion of the exam will be to record and report your own reactions to catnip. This means that you or your human servant must get some catnip for you to try. Apparently, 50% of cats do not respond. Do you? How? Do you show the flehmen reaction? If you do, what is the organ that makes this possible? Take some time to experiment with this before you take the exam. On second thought take the catnip experiment the day before you take the exam.

Now for the exam.

Good luck! Hope you learned a lot and even had some fun.

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