Believe it or not

By david catchpole at Creation Ministries international

The human nose knows better than we thought

New Research shows people are "surprisingly good" at telling smells apart.


It was previously thought, and often claimed in scientific literature, that the human nose could discriminate between, at most, about 10,000 different aromas. However, this was based on a "crude estimate" made in 1927 and has never been empirically validated.

Rockefeller University researchers are now saying the average person can distinguish between more than a trillion olfactory stimuli. This claim is made based on research that involved presenting volunteers with combinations of 30 chemicals drawn from a standard set of 128 diverse odorants.

"We have an amazing olfactory capacity that has not been appreciated," said researcher Dr Leslie Vosshall, who also pointed out that the typical person's nose has 400 kinds of olfactory receptors.

"Our analysis shows that the human capacity for discriminating smells is much larger than anyone anticipated."

It shouldn't come as such a surprise. After all, we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).

This article was first published in Creation Magazine.

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