Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The smell of victory   posted by p-ter @ 12/26/2006 07:20:00 PM

Humans can track smells, and the ability to do so is greatly aided by practice (and the use of both nostrils). Very cool:
Whether mammalian scent-tracking is aided by inter-nostril comparisons is unknown. We assessed this in humans and found that (i) humans can scent-track, (ii) they improve with practice, (iii) the human nostrils sample spatially distinct regions separated by approx3.5 cm and, critically, (iv) scent-tracking is aided by inter-nostril comparisons. These findings reveal fundamental mechanisms of scent-tracking and suggest that the poor reputation of human olfaction may reflect, in part, behavioral demands rather than ultimate abilities.