Follow us twitter facebook
Edition: Global
Click here to subscribe toour free weekly newsletter click here
Industry buzz

People smell as well as dogs, scientists say

People’s sense of smell is just as sharp as those of rats and dogs, a US researcher said last week, calling for an end to a century-old “myth” to the contrary.

People’s sense of smell is just as sharp as those of rats and dogs, according to claims by a US researcher. Photo: © miljko / Istock.com

People’s sense of smell is just as sharp as those of rats and dogs, according to claims by a US researcher. Photo: © miljko / Istock.com

Rutgers University neuroscientist John McGann reviewed research and historical writings he says led to the misconception that human sense of smell is inferior, according to the report in the journal Science. “For so long people failed to stop and question this claim, even people who study the sense of smell for a living,” he said. “The fact is the sense of smell is just as good in humans as in other mammals, like rodents and dogs.

Humans have long been believed capable of detecting about 10,000 different odours. In fact, the number is closer to one trillion, McGann said.

A 19th-century brain surgeon and anthropologist named Paul Broca provided the origin of the myth about humans’ poor sense of smell, according the Science report said. In his 1879 writings, Broca cited the smaller volume of humans’ olfactory area in the brain compared to other, larger parts. It meant that humans had free will and didn’t have to rely on smell to survive like dogs and other mammals, he argued.

Broca’s theory even influenced the Austrian neurologist and father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, who believed people’s lack of smell makes them more susceptible to mental illness.

It has been a long cultural belief that in order to be a reasonable or rational person, you could not be dominated by a sense of smell,” McGann said. “Smell was linked to earthly animalistic tendencies.

The human olfactory bulb makes up just 0.01 percent of the brain’s volume compared to two percent in mice, McGann said.

But its absolute size in people is actually quite large - in adults it can reach around two inches (60 millimetres) - and has a similar number of neurons compared to those of other mammals.

The difference between humans, dogs and rodents when it comes to sense of smell may come down to different sensitivities to certain odours. “We are capable of tracking odour trails, and our behavioural and affective states are influenced by our sense of smell,” McGann wrote.

But although humans may be better at sniffing fine wines, dogs are likely to keep excelling at analysing the various types of urine on offer at the nearest fire hydrant.

With AFP/Relaxnews

© 2017 - Premium Beauty News - www.premiumbeautynews.com
latest news
Focus
spip-vignette

MakeUp in Paris to offer a series of exclusive workshops

Eleven specialist workshops will be organized during the two days of MakeUp in Paris on 22-23 June 2017. Check the best for yourself and register early by contacting the person in charge of the workshop your interested in. Thursday, June 22 10 a.m. - 10.45 a.m.: How to create better customer experiences with less environmental (...)

read more
job opportunities
Experts’ views
Green alternatives to microplastic beads

Lipotec
Green alternatives to microplastic beads

Sustainability has become a big concern in our time. The fight against plastics has hardened and consumers are looking for environment-friendly products to reduce the human footprint on Earth. In the skin care industry, the plastic microbeads, historically used in physical exfoliants, have been questioned in many countries for their (...)

read more
Webinars
E-shop - latest publications
Regulations on the registration of cosmetic products in China (part2)
95.00 € excl. tax
Safety of perfumes and cosmetics. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia
200.00 € excl. tax
Regulations on the registration of cosmetic products in China (part1)
135.00 € excl. tax
Go to top ↑

Features

We use cookies to give you a better browsing experience. By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. Read more and set cookies
close