In a new study researchers say human beings can sniff more than a trillion different smells. Earlier it was said only about 10,000 different odors.
Based on the extrapolation of findings in laboratory experiments, the scientists conclude we can differentiate almost infinite number of smells.
In the lab experiments volunteers sniffed a large collection of smell mixtures and the study is published in the Science journal.
Head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behaviour at Rockefeller University in New York, Leslie Vosshall, said the best part of the new study is that it has revised the present idea that we are terrible smellers.
Similar to the sounds and sights, human beings are also accosted with several smells such as body odor, perfume, beer, rose blossom, cut grass, spoiled milk, rotten egg, fresh popcorn, burning wood, dog breath, pine, orange peel, grilled meat, ammonia, exhaust fumes, cinnamon, excrement, skunk spray and cookies.
Until now the dimensions of sense of smell was a mystery though in several research it has been said human beings can distinguish colors in several million different types and about 340,000 audio tones.
Since 1920 we had only known that human beings can discern just about 10,000 odors. However, this fact was based on faulty assumptions, said researchers.
In the new research 26 men and women participated from various ethnic and racial groups and aged between 20 and 40 years.