Saturday May 13, 2017
Your sense of smell doesn't stink
more stories from this episode
- Protecting our neural privacy
- Your sense of smell doesn't stink
- Spectacular new armoured dinosaur was a 'destroyer of shins'
- Ancient microorganisms flourished on land long before we thought
- Money-puck: coming to an arena near you
- Quirks & Questions: Why isn't cadaver blood donated for transfusions?
- Full Episode
Freshly cut grass, a bouquet of lavender, cigar smoke, a crackling fire. These scents are unmistakable. And most of us have no problem identifying their particular aroma.
But for the most part, humans don't have a great sense of smell, compared to say, a dog, or a rat or other wild animals, that rely heavily on their sense of smell for survival.
Or so we've been led to believe.
Dr. John McGann's lab focuses on how our brains understand the sensory world around us. His work on the rodent olfactory system prompted him to dig deeper into the scientific research on the human olfactory system. He says the notion that humans have a poor sense of smell is a long-standing myth, and that there's plenty of evidence that smell is as crucial to humans as the rest of our senses. His report was published in Science: Poor human olfaction is a 19th-century myth.