(PCM) When thinking about the ways in which human beings use their senses each and every day, many times our sense of smell can be overlooked, however it has recently been revealed that our noses have the ability to sniff out at least a trillion different scents.
There was an assumption made years ago, 1927 to be exact, that the human nose was only able to detect about 10,000 different odors, however a new study published in Science has revealed that number to be much, much higher. There are times that we, as humans, are barely even aware that we are smelling anything at all.
This new finding actually proves that by being able to distinguish between over 1 trillion different scents the human nose has more sensitivity than any other organ in our bodies. Researchers at Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute tested the noses of a group of volunteers using precisely crafted mixtures of odor molecules to complete their research.
Obviously researchers were not going to be able to test a trillion different smells individually, so they used 128 different odorant molecules to create smell mixtures that were reminiscent of familiar smells such a fresh cut grass. The research participants were presented with three vials to smell, and while they were not asked to identify the particular scent, they were only asked which one smelled differently out of the three, two of which were the same. The study subjects could generally tell the difference between mixtures containing as much as 51.17% of the same components.
Definitely some interesting stuff and we are glad that researchers finally got their noses on the case!