Illustration of a nose

Dogs and other mammals get all the credit for their superior sense of smell, but, as it turns out, humans’ olfactory facility is every bit as good. According to John McGann, assistant psychology professor at the School of Arts and Sciences, humans can detect roughly one trillion odors—thanks to the complexity of the olfactory bulb, which sends signals to the brain and which has a similar number of neurons found in other mammals. So why the bad rap on humans’ sense of smell? “It has long been a cultural belief that in order to be a reasonable … person, you could not be dominated by a sense of smell,” says McGann, whose findings were published in Science. “Smell was linked to earthly animalistic tendencies.” — Robin Lally