Humans can distinguish 1 trillion smells
A new study has revealed that the human nose is capable of distinguishing at least one trillion different smells, millions beyond the previous estimates.
“Our analysis shows that the human capacity for discriminating smells is much larger than anyone anticipated,” said study co-author Leslie Vosshall, who is head of Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior.
The research subjected 26 participants to mixtures made with 128 different odorant molecules.
Lead researcher Andreas Keller of Rockefeller University noted that the number is a low estimate as there can be countless other mixture of odorants in the real world.
For decades, the general scientific notion was that human could detect around 10,000 scents.
Since the sense of smell is closely linked to human behavior, researchers believe that studying the sense can reveal new facts about how the human brain processes complex information.
According to scientific estimates, the human eye can distinguish several million colors and the ear can discriminate 340,000 sounds.