Last week, scientists from Rockefeller University announced that the human nose and brain can distinguish over one trillion different scents–well beyond the 10,000 odors researchers previously thought we could detect.
This reminded me of the surprising results of a 2007 study in the journal Nature about how we perceive the scent of male sweat (which was conducted in part by the same Rockefeller University research team behind the new nose research).
Before I go into this past study, first take a moment to think about the last time you were around a sweaty guy–did the man’s perspiration smell sweet, sour or like nothing at all?
Believe it or not, your answer depends largely on you–not him!
Researchers found that your genes affect how one specific odor receptor in your nose perceives the scent of chemicals caused by hormones in male sweat–and how you perceive it depends on the variation of this gene that you have.
For some people, male sweat smells pleasant like vanilla. Others find it acrid like urine. And still others don’t detect much odor from it at all.
Odd, right? It’s like everyone looking a clear sky and seeing it as one of three colors–not just blue.
Personally, I’m a smells-like-vanilla kind of gal. What does male sweat smell like to you?
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