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News: human olfactory abilities are compared positively to dogs & other mammals

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by leashedForLife, May 11, 2017.


  1. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

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    Yeah.... that's a crappy article. It conflates two seperate things just to make a clickbait headline.

    We don't have as good a sense of smell as a dog, that's just a silly claim. But we do think about smell in a different way.
     
  2. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

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    This is the actual article in Science. It's a bit more nuanced.

    John McGann is a professor at Ruetgers University and has his own lab there. http://rci.rutgers.edu/~jmcgann/contact.html

    It will be interesting to see the peer reviews on this.
     
  3. leashedForLife

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    Mirandashell said,
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    We don't have as good a sense of smell as a dog, that's just a silly claim. ...
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    did anyone suggest in that article, that humans could be trained to find IEDs or landmines, or sniff out contraband cash or narcotics? :confused: If so, i missed it.
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    Quote from the article,
    ...humans can discriminate among 1 trillion different odors, McGann wrote, far more than a commonly cited claim that people can detect only about 10,000 different smells.
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    From 10K to 1-trillion is quite the multiplicative factor. :Joyful My chemistry prof in freshman year pointed out that humans can detect quite a few odors in parts-per-million concentrations.
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    Odor Threshold Determinations of 53 Odorant Chemicals
    www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00022470.1969.10466465
    by G Leonardos - ‎1969 - ‎Cited by 335 - ‎Related articles
    Trimethylamine exhibited the lowest threshold (0.00021 ppm volume); ... was not recognizable below 214 ppm. ... odor other than the human and his nose.
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    the big problem with human olfaction is how fast our noses habituate, & stop SMELLING an odor that persists. // Ppl who live near a waste-treatment plant, or a paper manufacturer, may notice the smell for the 1st 20-mins after they get home from work... & then it's gone. Our human noses "tire" & stop firing.
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    We also regularly overlook [oversmell?] odors entirely - we don't sniff often, so unless it's blaring, we don't notice odors except subliminally.
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    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908748/
    Human olfaction: a constant state of change-blindness - NCBI
    nih.gov › NCBI › Literature › PubMed Central (PMC)
    by L Sela - ‎2010 - ‎Cited by 124 - ‎Related articles
    Jul 7, 2010 -
    Paradoxically, although humans have a superb sense of smell, they don't ..... to propane at 0.5 ppm, i.e., ~57,000 times its detection threshold.
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  4. leashedForLife

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    I found this interesting -
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    Quote,
    "... there's a reason smell is often shunted to third... behind sight & hearing, McGann wrote. It started in the 19th century, ...Paul Broca, a French brain surgeon & anthropologist, observed that humans have proportionately smaller olfactory... organs compared with other animals... Broca also noted that people don't exhibit odor-driven behavior to the same degree that other mammals do.
    This led Broca to hypothesize in his 1879 writings that smell had taken a backseat role to the other senses in humans, in exchange for free will. Years later, ... Freud piggybacked on the idea that human smell is inferior to other senses, suggesting that the sense of smell could not dominate a rational person...

    McGann called these conclusions a 'gross oversimplification', but they were... further supported by later research. For example, studies from the 20th century found rats & mice have genes for about 1,000 different kinds of receptors activated by odors, vs about 400 such receptors in humans."

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  5. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

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    No. But they did say the below (my bold):


    Like I said, the actual article in Science is more interesting. But you have to keep in mind that the guys runs a lab that investigates this stuff. More research = more funding = more research. So you have find something to research. The stuff you pointed out, like not smelling after 20 mins, is something everyone knows. It's used in an advert for Febreze. But hopefully the Prof will gone on and find a really good use for this research in medical arenas. But I will be interested in seeing the peer reviews on this to see if anyone agrees with him.
     
  6. leashedForLife

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    Miranda,
    I have no intention of trying to compete with a Bloodhound in cold-trailing. Nor do i think that's what McGann had in mind. :)
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    I do think humans pay little attn to scents [unless they reek] nowadays; far-less than we once did. For evidence, the easiest source i can think of is the diagnostic use of smell in human medicine, which is well-documented: specific descriptions of odors, such as the patient's breath, or a 'mousy' body-odor, were part & parcel of Dx clear into the 1920s.
    Diagnostic odors are not often used in human medicine today, but they are still needed & noted in nonhuman medicine.
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    I find it irritating that many modern-day humans have fallen for the MadisonAve PR that insists every room in the house must *stink* of some spozedly-apropos fake smell, "apple pie cinnamon" in the kitchen, "piney woods" in the bathroom, "fresh linen" in the bedroom, & "cinnabar" in the family room.
    If i want my kitchen to smell of apple-pie, i can bake one - or microwave an apple with cinnamon & a teaspoon of sugar where the core used to be. :rolleyes: I don't need to plug-in a stinkingly potent jar of chemical whozit, & have my hair so intensely perfumed by that gunk that it oughta glow in the dark.
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    The teen & 20-something males who drench themselves in Axe are victims of the same relentless hard-sell. Making someone's eyes water is not a happy side-effect.
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    I think McGann's basic message was, "humans have noses. We should use them more-often." // Any researcher who can disagree with that is probly one of the many working desperately to create an artificial nose to compete directly with canine scenting abilities - & good-luck to them. :p
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  7. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

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    I agree with you, LFL.
     
    leashedForLife likes this.
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