A recent review has attempted to bust the myth considered as the truth for generations by many: that humans have an inferior sense of smell when compared to animals. Researchers have found out that humans, in fact, have a better sense of smell.
The review conducted by a neuroscientist who studies olfaction at Rutgers University, John P. McGann, has revealed how humans are good at smelling our world. The scientists said that the human nose could be even more powerful than mice, rats and dogs after all.
“We’re discovering, to our delight, that the human smell system is much better than we were led to believe,” he said. It may be different than other mammals’ “but actually in ways that suggest that it could be more powerful than mice and rats and dogs.”
So how does the human nose work? There are special cells present inside our noses, which capture chemicals from the sensory environment around us throughout the day. These cells then send signals to a squished blob of brain called the olfactory bulb. The bulb then sends the information about the smell to other parts of the brain that work together to find out which smell is it or whether it is linked to some past memories and emotions.
“People are sometimes taught that because humans developed such a good visual system, we lost a sense of smell as a trade-off,”McGann said.
“The human olfactory system is excellent,” McGann wrote in his review paper. “We’re like lots of mammals with a perfectly good sense of smell, and if we paid more attention to it, I think we’d realize how important it is to us,” McGann told Vox.
McGann said that a human’s better sense of smell came from Paul Broca’s findings, who was a 19th-century anatomist in France who pioneered the study of the roles different brain regions play in speech and perception.
The findings of the study were published in a review in the journal Science on Thursday.