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Love at First Smell

Posted Feb 14 2010 12:00am
We humans interpret our environment primarily through our senses of sight and sound. Unless deprived of these capabilities, all other senses tend to be less significant and, in comparison with many other mammals, relatively underdeveloped. On the other hand, it is certainly possible that these lesser senses play a more significant role at the subconscious level.

We know that pack animals (especially canines) identify clan members by smell and that this sense may be important in the prevention of inbreeding; in the earliest period of human history, we were also pack animals and it seems reasonable to assume that our sense of smell may have been equally important. Indeed, modern studies have shown that smells and tastes (the latter being a corollary of smell) are more keenly imprinted in our memories than are sights and sounds. Furthermore, it is well known that pheromones play an essential role in chemical signaling among a wide variety of creatures, from insects to mammals, and that they may be involved in phenomena such as the close timing of menstrual cycles in women who live together.

We are all products of our DNA and, though scientific evidence remains limited, it is very likely that our physical attraction to other humans is determined by our genes, ensuring that we bond with genetically compatible individuals. If true, the natural scent of a person may be as important in this process as the sound of their voice or their physical appearance. So, on this commercial holiday of love, consider the fact that your mate is at least as appealing to your nose as to your eyes.
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