Ten Fun Facts About Smell

From great white sharks to cockroaches, an organism's sense of smell can be indispensable. 

1) Feet of snow through which a polar bear can smell seals: 3

2) Miles away a storm-petrel can smell a food source at sea: 5

3) Miles away the male common emperor moth can smell receptive females: 6

4) Miles away wild Bactrian camels are reputed to be able to find water, their well-tuned nostrils likely following the scent given off by water-dwelling bacteria: 50

5) Gallons of water in which a great white shark can smell just one drop of blood: 25

6) Times more sensitive the human sense of smell is than the sense of taste: 10,000

7) Odors mice and humans can identify: 10,000

8) Olfactory receptor cells in a single cockroach antenna: 195,000

9) Olfactory receptor cells in a human that are dedicated to picking up scent: 12,000,000

10) Olfactory receptor cells in a bloodhound: 4,000,000,000

This story originally ran in the May-June 2012 issue as “Numbers Game: Sniffing Out the Facts.”

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