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    If You Can’t Smell Him, Can You Love Him?

    Most people do not know or even think that they communicate via smell as well as through words, tone, or body language. Photograph by Hans Neleman / Getty Images What are the ingredients of a good relationship? Trust? Communication? Compromise? How about a sense of smell? When researchers in the United Kingdom surveyed almost 500 […]

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    Why Smelling the Opposite Sex Can Age You

    It’s possible that sensing the presence of a female may effectively activate processes involved in reproduction, which might facilitate a male’s reproductive success if those females were around, but could increase aging as a consequence.Classic Film / Flickr There’s the usual advice. If you want to live longer, exercise. Eat green vegetables. Avoid stress. Oh—and […]

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    Seeing Electricity, Hearing Magnetism & Other Sensory Feats

    For elephants, feet are sensory organs.Martin Harvey, Getty Images It’s pretty obvious that dogs have sharper ears and cats a keener sense of smell than we do. But as powerful these senses are, they are merely keener versions of the ones we humans possess. The animal kingdom also boast some senses that are arguably more […]

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    The Long, Hard Quest to Create Digital Smells

    Of all of the wondrous feats accomplished by Willy Wonka in his candy factory, the most impressive may have been wedging an entire meal into just one unassuming stick of gum: Upon popping it in your mouth and chewing, you’d first taste tomato soup, then roast beef and baked potato, and finally blueberry pie and […]

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    So Human, So Beautiful

    I look into the mirror and try to see what another human would see. My beard is months old, scraggly and dirty, my balding head covered with wisps of gray. I take out the scissors and start to clean it up. Thoughts of other people, being with other people, force their way to the surface, […]

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    Animals’ Wildly Varying Reactions to the Smell of Death

    The stinkhorn fungus (officially known as Phallus impudicus—“impudent penis”—for obvious reasons) draws in flies with the rotting-flesh smell of putrescine.ƒred via Flickr To us humans, the scent of a rotting corpse is universally abhorrent, the very definition of disgusting. But as strong as that reaction is, many other animals don’t share our unalloyed revulsion. Goldfish […]

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    How Animals Use Smell to Send Coded Messages

    Dad was back. He played a little with the children, rubbed a few heads with his own, clawed at a wooden post, and then, standing erect with tail straight up, he backed towards a tree, sprayed, and left. The kids scampered over. They stood on their hind legs and carefully examined the spray—the family smell. […]

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    The Feminine Smells That Get Sperm Moving

    Sperm are the cheetahs of the microscopic world: Made of little more than molecular muscle and batteries, tipped with a payload of genetic information, they are optimized for speed. But to orient themselves before their epic, seven-inch sprint (it’s more impressive if you’re less than one three-thousandth that size), they first need to sniff out […]

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    Following One Reader’s Nose

    The variability in how people smell has a lot to do with their genetics.

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    Your Very Weird, Very Personal Sense of Smell

    We’re used to the idea that some among us are colorblind, perceiving the world differently because of a quirk in their genetics. And it’s well-known that teenagers and young adults can hear high-pitched sounds that their elders cannot, an ability that’s been exploited by manufacturers of The Mosquito, an anti-loitering device that annoys youth into leaving. […]