Elephantine Classification of Human Ethnic Groups

Do elephants discriminate between (and perhaps against) different human ethnic groups? This study addresses that question:  “Elephants Classify Human Ethnic Groups by Odor and Garment Color,” Lucy A. Bates, Katito N. Sayialel, Norah W. Njiraini, Cynthia J. Moss, Joyce H. Poole, Richard W. Byrne, Current Biology, vol. 17, no. 22, November 20, 2007, pp. 1938–1942. […]

Making cheese from humans’ foot, nose, armpit bacteria

“Make hay while the sun shines, but make cheese from places where it does not” is the unstated them of a project described in Christina Agapakis‘s Harvard PhD Thesis (and described more colorfully on her web site): “Descriptions of  human body odors often overlap with those of  cheese; Propionibacterium used to make Swiss cheese is a major […]

Study: Why my baby is less disgusting than yours

When a mother compares and contrasts the stench from her baby’s nappies with that from those of someone else’s baby, the question of disgust arises. The question drove a team of psychologists to do an experiment. Richard Stevenson and Trevor Case, of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and Betty Repacholi of the University of Washington in Seattle issued a report […]

Sperm can’t smell, says Timo

A report from Max-Planck-Gesselschaft, highlighting research by Timo Strünker [pictured here, and to whom the report directs inquiries for further info] and friends, says: Sperm cannot smell. [February 28, 2012] According to a 2003 study by German and American scientists, a component of the Lily of the Valley scent known as Bourgeonal alters the calcium balance of human sperm […]

Smell-mediated response in flies — The dance video

Just as — and yet completely unlike the way — you’ll not see anything quite like the bee dance created and performed by Michael Smith, you’ll not see anything to match this dance video by Cedric Tan. He made the video, called “Smell mediated response to relatedness of potential mates“, and entered it into the 2011 Dance Your […]

A man who pricked his finger & smelled putrid

Four doctors in Wales [at the hospital pictured below] rose to fame because of a man who pricked his finger and smelled putrid for five years. The doctors were hit nose-on with one of the most baffling medical mysteries on record. It all started with a chicken. The case ended happily – yet mysteriously – […]

Study: Smelly socks for malaria control

Cesar Sanchez of the TwistedBacteria blog alerts us to this new study, which was derived from the Ig Nobel Prize-winning work of Bart Knols and Ruurd de Jong (who showed that many malaria mosquitoes are attracted equally to the smell of human feet and the smell of limburger cheese): “Sugar-fermenting yeast as an organic source […]