Friday, October 3, 2014

1 Trillion Scents

Its almost unbelievable that Humans can smell 1 trillion scents. It could be that we completely ignore how powerful our olfactory senses are and we unconsciously believe only sweet and smelly smells exists. Researches from Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute created a study based on myth. It tested the power of olfaction by using a variety of different odor combinations.  

They created "128 common scents such as orange and peppermint into smells containing 10, 20, and 30 different odor molecules". Which followed by participants comparing three vials, two where the same and one was different; the task provided was to pick the one that did not smell like the other.  In all, participants were able to "distinguish between the two smells". The message they wanted to send "stop and smell the roses and breathe deep" 

This article was published in The Atlantic  by Dana Smith 


  1. I had no idea humans could smell that many scents. To me, I would think that we could only smell up to maybe 500 or 1,000 scents. Very interesting topic!

  2. The fact that we can determine one similar scent from another is pretty incredible. Also, the fact that a decent can be duplicated almost identically artificially is crazy to think about