Science confirmed that people can smell more than a trillion odors, and whoa
We already knew the human body was a mysterious and amazing thing. But, as it turns out, it is even MORE mysterious and amazing than we ever could have dreamed. We are specifically talking about your nose, and the fact that it can smell more than a trillion odors.
Yes, you read that right, a TRILLION ODORS.
Nose, we haven’t been giving you NEARLY enough credit for being the powerhouse body part you are.
Though, to be fair, as Vox reports, the reason we haven’t been giving our noses enough credit is because we’ve been busy giving our eyeballs so much credit. It’s a myth that’s gained traction over the years.
Rutgers University neurobiologist John McGann, according to the Vox article, explained it all in a recent paper for Science.
He wrote, “The human olfactory system is excellent. 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 continues in his paper that we can trace the myth of humans having a sub-par sense of smell back to 19th century French anatomist Paul Broca. In his work dissecting human brains, Broca saw that the olfactory bulb was smaller in humans than in other animals. So he assumed we humans, have, like, a way, way worse sense of smell.
But actually our human sense of smell is pretty darn great. It may not be as good as a dog’s. (Though, to be fair, they have a vomeronasal organ. This is basically a pump in their nose, which enables dogs to smell odors trapped in liquids, whereas we mere humans can only smell odors in the air.)
But our sense of smell doesn’t have to be at canine superpower level to still be pretty good. We can smell particles that are just TWO atoms large. Our noses aren’t, like, the best noses in the animal kingdom. But something doesn’t have to be the best to still be pretty darn great.