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In the game of “which sense would you most be willing to lose? But evolutionarily, smell is one of the most important senses.
It helps us make sense of our environment by keeping us safe from spoiled food, for instance, and tipping us off to threats like fire or gas leaks.
They cut my T-shirt into swatches, stuffed them inside little zip-top bags and mailed them to 10 people who’d also signed up for this bizarre social experiment.
As a result, smell can trigger thoughts and behaviors very quickly.Simply by using their sense of smell, mice end up choosing mates with MHC types that are not too similar, yet not too different, from their own, as a way to avoid inbreeding and to make their offspring evolutionarily as strong as possible.Whether or not these odors play the same behavior-influencing role in human mate choice, however, is still up for some debate.It’s also a highly social sense, linked to memory, emotions and interactions with other people—encouraging us to draw closer or stay away.
The nose also deserves credit for much of our pleasure, especially when it comes to another of our chemical senses: taste.The romantic part of me still can’t help thinking that smell communicates something deeper than what we can see, touch, hear or taste.