What the Nose Knows

Some trivia about the Sense of Smell

Our sense of smell brings us so much pleasure. The aroma of coffee in the morning. The fragrance of fresh flowers. The scents that remind of us of childhood, like cookies baking or popcorn popping. The ability to smell is something many people take for granted, but there are lots of interesting things you may not know about the sense of smell. As it turns out, the ability to smell is really quite an interesting gift

A Few Notable Facts About the Sense of Smell

  • The sense of smell is almost as unique as a fingerprint. An odor or fragrance is perceived differently by each person. That’s because no two people have the same sense of smell, except identical twins.

  • Our ability to distinguish certain odors can become overloaded by prolonged exposure to those odors, which is why many pet owners are oblivious to the pet odors in their home that visitors detect as soon as they walk in the door.

  • Polar bears can smell a seal through three feet of snow.

  • When an initial smell is associated with an experience, it can leave a unique and lasting impression in the brain, which is why smelling a certain odor can evoke a specific memory.

  • The smell of food affects its taste, which is why our taste is diminished when you have a cold.

  • Some camels can detect the location of water from great distances by following the scent given off by water-dwelling bacteria.

  • Our ability to discern odors is weakest in the morning and becomes stronger in the course of the day.

  • The saying “nothing to sneeze at” has been around since the early 1800s and is used to describe something as NOT unimportant or unworthy.

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