Smell is often the most neglected of our senses – other look more important or have, at the first look, greater impact on our lives. But sense of smell
influences us in many ways and there are interesting things that could be said about it.
Smell can be considered the oldest sense: even the oldest organisms – cells, have organelles that can detect chemical composition of the environment in the
same way more complex organisms do.
Only materials that can be dissolved have smells. That is why, for instance, glass doesn't have smell.
Smells are stronger in the spring and in the summer because the moisture in the air is greater than in autumn or winter.
There are some indications that we can't sense the smells while we are asleep.
Anosmia is inability to sense smells.
Cacosmia (also called parosmia, or troposmia) is a disability where brain cannot properly identify an odor and it feels it as something unpleasant. If a
brain feels the smell as a pleasant one this disability is called euosmia.
Cells in our noses that sense odors are regenerated every 28 days.
Although we may not perceive them as such, odors are very easy to memorize and are often connected with other memories. At later date we can remember those
memories and even emotions that we had then just by smelling the same odor. This is, among other places, used in marketing and, for instance, many hotels
use special odors to “tie” memories of their guests of the time they spent in these hotels to these odors. A certain smell can be remembered with 65% of
accuracy after a year while a picture can be remembered with 50% after three months.
Bactrian camels can smell water from 50 miles (80 km) away.
As a result of evolution, women have better sense of smell than men.
Humans have between 5 and 6 million of cells that can detect odors in their noses which is a lot but it is nothing compared to dogs which have 220 million
of these cells.
We have best sense of smell in our late teens and it deteriorates with time. Loss of sense of smell can be a symptom of an oncoming illness like
Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. There is even a study that tells that a loss of sense of smell can predict death within five years.
Sense of smell can fatigue very quickly and become less sensitive to the senses after a short time it is exposed to them. Body does this to prevent our
nervous system from overloading.
The first sense to develop when we are born is the sense of smell.
Smell has great impact on how the food tastes. That is why when we have flu food can taste bland. Some even say that smell is responsible for up to 80% of
taste and that people that have worse sense of smell tend to gravitate to unhealthy food.
We can sense over 1,000,000,000,000 different smells. That is over one trillion. We can even smell feelings like fear and disgust on other people through
Car salesmen use odors of new leather in old cars they sell, to create illusion of a new car and sell it more easily.
Bad odors can damage the ability to smell.
Our own body odor depends on many factors like food we eat, our genes, level of tress and other.
Jorvik Viking Center, a museum of Viking culture, uses odors to give its visitors full simulation of life in a Viking villages.