Olfaction in Humans and Animals

Olfactics seems to be a very confusing term. Of course, this is a complex phenomenon, but it deals with something we all know perfectly well or rather use every day. This is the sense of smell. All creatures have and produce certain smells, and they can also detect a variety of smells. In scientific terms, smells are the way creatures’ sensory cells perceive information concerning different chemical components. However, you will never understand what a smell is if you think about chemicals and sensory cells.

Consider the sweet scent of the rose in the early morning, or the heavenly smell of the ocean, or the delicious bouquet of chocolate. Some will think of the crispy smell of their morning newspaper, the milky aroma of their child, the heady odor of their beloved. Others will think of the fresh smell of the mown grass or unforgettable bouquet of the elegant wine. People will agree that the smell is real magic that makes the world bright and complete.

All animals are surrounded by smells and learn about this world. Insects, reptiles, mammals and, of course, humans detect smells and understand what is in front of them. For instance, insects use their palps and antennas to identify food, other insects, danger. Reptiles use their sensory cells to detect smells as well as pheromones. They can catch their prey with the help of their tongues. Mammals are also able to detect pheromones, and they use this ability to search their prey. Of course, the smell helps animals to find their food and their home, to mate and to protect their territory. When meeting a rival, animals give off certain pheromones to reveal their intention to attack or submit. To put it in another way, the smell is what governs animals’ existence. This is almost an invisible thread that links animals to their family and home.

When it comes to people, the smell is an indispensable and an important part of their life. People cannot detect pheromones, and their sense of smell is not as strong as that of other mammals. However, we are still affected. Smells make people feel different emotions. There is even a particular study of smells, osmology. Scientists try to identify effects specific odors have on people. This is used in marketing and various other fields of people’s life. Thus, when we sense coffee, we start feeling hunger.

We feel happier when we detect aromas we are familiar with. People have also learned to change or rather hide their odor. Of course, people try to smell good, and the industry of perfumes is developing rapidly. Women, as well as men, use various scents to be more attractive. At least, this is what advertisements promise. Thus, females use flowery odors to seem more feminine, enigmatic and sensational. Men prefer intense aromas. They create a particular aura around them.

To turn back to the world of animals, it is important to add that the smell is what defines creatures. Apparently, animals focus on other objects’ smells. However, they are also able to detect their own smell. In other words, they understand what belongs to them as well as what they really are. Consider animals’ ability to mark their territory or trace their tracks, for instance. People are often deprived of this capability. They have lost the ability to use this sense to the fullest throughout centuries.

More importantly, they have also difficulties in understanding themselves. Thus, the smell is what defines animals and helps them find their place in the world. The smell guides them. People’s identity is what defines an individual and enables him/her to find a particular place in the society. This is what many people also lack for. Some think this is unnecessary, just like the ability to smell things. Nevertheless, this is what makes people feel unrest and search for themselves. Individuals who do not understand who they are do not feel comfortable.

On the contrary, those who have found their identity can, finally, come to terms with themselves. They are happy and empowered. They feel that their lives are fulfilled. They understand what their place in the world is. Of course, inflicting some characteristics just as people put some perfumes on diverts people’s identities. In the case with scents, improper perfume causes headaches, but inflicting wrong characteristics may often lead to lifelong unhappiness or even suicidal thoughts.

In short, people should never forget who they are. Even though animals have lost much of their ability to use their sense of smell, they should use their meta-senses to search for their identity. They should also protect their identity just like animals protect their territory. This will ensure the necessary balance in their souls. You should also think about who you are and what you want. Do not be afraid to reveal your true colors. Of course, to do that, you should be brave enough to be sincere with yourself. Do not inflict popular ‘odors’, but focus on your real self.