Recently, I was reading a blog post that discussed the fact that men tend to have bigger noses than females. Apparently, this was due to the fact that men have bigger muscles and need more oxygen for their bodies. So then I became curious as to if men could smell better than women too, due to their bigger noses. After researching, I found some pretty interesting material.
In fact, women smell better than men but nobody has been able to figure out why until recently. A group of scientists examined the dead bodies, who had passed over the age of 55, of seven men and eleven women. The thoroughly studied their brains, and especially the olfactory bulb, which is neural structure that creates the sense of smell. The study found that on average, women have 43% more cells in their olfactory bulb than men do. Thats a huge advantage women have over men! We know why they can smell better but for what reason?
Dag Olav Hessen on Science Nordic suggests that women are given this ability because, ” women as primary care persons have needed stronger senses, for instance to know whether food was good or bad”. But if we are talking about gender roles here, (women are caretakers and men are hunters and gatherers), then wouldn’t men need to smell just as well? Smelling animals and navigating would then essentially be just as important. Johan Fredrik Storm also suggests that women are subconsciously able to smell similarity in genes, helping them choose partners that have different genes from themselves.
Whatever the reason, these findings are huge. However, I am not sure that I trust the study conducted, due to the small number of people involved. Also, since the researchers examined the brains of those who are deceased, how sure can we really be that they have more cells in their olfactory bulbs while living? It could be that we are born with the same amount and that over time, men lose theirs. Or even that, women gain these cells after they pass the age of 55. Although I am not sure how unethical it would be, if this research was conducted on more bodies of a wider age range, I would be less skeptical of the findings.