#562 – Olfactory

It’s interesting how some animals rely on their sense of smell over their sight. I wonder what the human world would be like if that was the case with us. I wonder if we would be able to travel at high speeds in a car while using our sense of smell as navigation.

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33 thoughts on “#562 – Olfactory”

  1. Libraman says:

    Eh, i heard that people will rely on many things beside just sight. Bit blind myself without my glasses.

  2. taber_man says:

    That would certainly be a fun form of GPS XD

    *sniff sniffffff* “East! Go East!”

  3. Mr toast says:

    if only he could just remember where he left it…

  4. Fafnir13 says:

    Nope. I think not. Being able to smell something requires that particles of that something enter our nasally bits. The particles unique to a stopping car simply wouldn’t reach us until it was too late. I’m also thinking that anything with such a sophisticated sense of smell would not be able to stand the exhaust of most internal combustion engines.

  5. Jax 64 says:

    I dunno, my dog always seems happy to hang his nose out the window when there’s plenty of other cars around…as for sight being faster, If we had such great smell our reaction time for that would be better.

  6. Ryan says:

    Turn left at the smell of cow dung.

  7. silfedac says:

    That’s the only reason we let my granddad keep his driver’s license. His eyesight is so bad his other senses have improved to accomodate. If you walk into a room, he immediately knows how old you are, how tall you are, and where you’ve been for the past five hours young man.

  8. Chris says:

    Yes dogs rely quite heavily on smell. When ever they meet a good dog friend they go and sniff their tush, whereas humans would shake hands. If we relied on smell instead of sight would we have to walk up to our friends and sniff their rears? I’m kinda glad I can see when you start thinking down this path…

  9. Ryan says:

    …How can you tell how old someone is…by…smell?

  10. Linus says:

    Ryan, you can tell by how far along the decomposing process they are…

    On the comic: Yeah it does seem clear this is lost & found week ^^

  11. brickface says:

    I found my sense of smell, and the glasses I had dissapeared, I then realized I was in an RPG…

  12. krasno says:

    You should read “Perfume: history of a murderer”. The main character has such an amazing sense of smell that he can tell what people are in vecinity (many miles in the vecinity!) as well as their sex, age, hair color and clothing.

  13. krasno says:

    BTW, Daredevil/Wolverine anyone? 😛

    sorry for double post

  14. Jackson says:

    I’m not sure how reliable the source is, but a friend of mine told me that some dogs, such as greyhounds, can tell the shape of a puddle of liquid by its smell. If it’s true, that’s pretty incredible. But if it’s true, it’s one of those things that sounds too amazing to be feasible. I mean, smelling *shapes?*

    But getting back to Biff: it occurs to me that with the kind of life he leads, no sense of smell could often be an advantage.

  15. MindoverMattR says:

    Brilliant! I think a three nosed, no-eyed creature sounds perfect for the next horror movie. It will smell you… TO DEATH!

    Also, try eating foods with your nose plugged and then while you’re chewing, unplug your nose. It’s amazing how responsible our noses are for much of the flavors we “taste”.

  16. Batdan says:

    I play pinball by sense of smell. In fact I’m so good, Pete Townshend gave his pinball crown to me and wrote a song about it.

  17. hogan says:

    My vision is pretty bad, so I can tell who has arrived by the distinctive jingle of their keys in the door.

    On the comic: Biff is seeing scents with his goggles, and he is also seeing his sense of smell, which implies that the sense of smell has a scent he can see. Next will he be able to hear the taste of chocolate? Or taste his sense of touch?

  18. starseedjenny says:

    I just read an article in The Week about losing your sense of smell…

    It was pretty cool.

    And I don’t want to lose my sense of smell anytime soon.

  19. silfedac says:

    You know, without your sense of smell, apples and potatoes taste EXACTLY THE SAME.

    Try it sometime. Get a friend to blindfold you, then eat chunks of potato and apple while your nose is plugged. See if you can tell the difference.

    You CAN’T. Trust me.

  20. Izual Shima says:

    Our civilisation would be totally different if we could smell things like dogs, or sharper animals such as wolves (they can tell what you ate yesterday by your breathe…from miles away). Our cities wouldn’t be so packed…or dirty.

    Then again, the scent-sensitive animals don’t seem to get as bothered by foul scents, as we do. I mean, dogs sniff trashcans and excrement like nobody’s business…maybe it’s not offensive to them only?

    All of our senses play a big role in our subconscious and unconscious level of awareness, too. Smell particularly, catches the pheromones, thus defining human relating on a big level. Also, it’s said that it has the strongest ties to our memories. I can attest to that, nothing gets my head in recalling mode, like a scent.

  21. Wizard says:

    Jackson – I’m not sure shape would have a detectable effect on smell, even with a dog’s nose, although I could be wrong. At any rate, I suspect your friend was thinking of bloodhounds; greyhounds are primarily sight hunters.

  22. *sniff sniff* The pizza place is that way

  23. ibtrippen says:

    You should get “The MAn Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat” by Oliver Sacks. It has a story in there, called “The Dog Inside”, about a man whose sense of smell was suddenly heightened. It’s non-fiction, which makes things even weirder.

  24. Cpt Ziggy says:

    @batdan, Dude your my new hero.

  25. Speakerblast says:

    See!? This is what happens when you spend too much time around skunk melons!

  26. Reynard says:

    “I wonder if we would be able to travel at high speeds in a car while using our sense of smell as navigation.”

    Now I have this picture in my head of every car on the road toolin’ along with it’s driver’s face poking out of the window with his/her tongue hanging out and flapping in the breeze…

  27. Gato says:

    Women are said to have a better sense of smell than men. I know I’ve got a good sense….

  28. Pom Rania says:

    @iptrippen: I’ve read that book! It was pretty good; the title story really stuck out to me, because my computer prof was (and probably still is) working on robotic vision, making a robot that can navigate by cameras. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. What reminded me of it is that that guy essentially just has computer vision.

    I don’t have much of a sense of smell. Or maybe, I actually do, but I’ve gotten used to a number of scents (the ubiquitous ‘weird odour’ in our house) and have weird tastes in the rest.

  29. Amake says:

    Snakes have, among other highly interesting sensory arrays, a bicameral sense of smell. That means they have smell depth perception. I can’t even imagine what that would be like.

    Also, sharks can smell blood in the water miles away mere seconds after it’s spilled, so don’t underestimate the speed with which olfactory particles can travel. . . though I doubt motor vehicles would develop anything like they have done in a society where smell is as important as sight is to us.

  30. Qmarx says:

    Humans actually have a pretty good sense of smell.

    Our noses are just too far from the ground to pick up anything interesting.

  31. Alvaro says:

    Oh I hope this gets read. The concept you mentioned, interestingly enough, has a movie/book about it. It’s called perfume. I have watched nor read either, but I have heard about them.

    Its a story of a boy whose sense of smell is so powerful, its the only way he perceives the world. Yet he himself has no scent. The main premise of the story is that humans are animals just like every other creature, and rely on scent to lead themselves through life, we however are completely unaware of how big a factor scent plays in our perception of the world.

    The boy progresses through the film following scents, unable to be detected by other humans because he himself has no scent. He eventually starts hunting virgin girls because there scent is so pure, and refined that scent into a perfume, which he then uses on himself to make others adore him. When a crowd of people do not believe that scent is such an overwhelmingly important sense, he sprays the perfume upon them, and they immediately break out into an uncontrollable orgy.

  32. Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos says:

    Before I read the caption I thought those were condoms:D

  33. YukiSnowflake says:

    This reminds me of a story from my old school!
    But it’s sound, not smell…
    Anyway, there was a guy who could tell who each teacher was by the sound of their shoes.
    Clock Clock Clock~
    “Hello Mrs. Ellis”
    Tap Tap Tap~
    “Good afternoon Miss Tsiviki”
    Clomp Clomp Clomp~
    “Hello Mrs. Baker”
    ect. ect. you get the idea!

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