Smell always seems to get the short shrift of the sensory world. We don’t rely on it to navigate and communicate like we do sight and sound; it doesn’t send shivers up our spine like a soft caress; and no one’s ever claimed a whiff of roses to be “orgasmic” like they might a bite of chocolate peanut butter cheesecake.
But smell will be relegated to the sensory corner no longer! New research published in Science reveals that our olfactory abilities are far stronger than anyone had previously imagined, enabling us to detect more than 1 trillion different scents — 10 million times more than was originally thought.
I’ve got a full review of the article published on The Atlantic, including how the researchers arrived at this staggering number. So check it out, and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses; there may be more in there than you thought.
Interesting article, but what does it tell us about mechanism?
The paper seems to have some serious flaws, as described here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1411.0165
And see also: http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e08127 (which is peer-reviewed, with reviews made open to the public).