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科学美国人60秒:别不信,你能闻出一万亿种不同的气味!

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This is Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Cynthia Graber. Got a minute?

这里是《科学美国人》的60秒科学,我是辛西娅·格雷伯。准备好了吗?

A bloodhound’s sense of smell is far better than its owner’s. But human olfaction is still nothing to sneeze at. Because your nose can detect at least a trillion individual scents. That’s according to research in the journalScience.

猎犬的嗅觉比它的主人灵敏得多。但人类的嗅觉仍然不容小觑。因为你的鼻子可以探测到至少一万亿种不同的气味。这是根据《科学》杂志上的研究得出的结论。

Researchers mixed together combinations of some of 128 different odors. Study subjects then smelled three samples: two of the combination scents that were the same and one that was different. Based on subjects’ id’s of the different smells, the researchers gauged how close the mixtures could be and still be distinguishable.

研究人员将128种不同气味中的组合混合在一起。然后,研究对象闻了三个样本:两个相同的组合气味,另一个不同。根据受试者对不同气味的认识,研究人员衡量了这些混合物的接近程度,以及它们仍然可以被区分出来的程度。

Those findings let them determine how many different scents could exist made of combinations of the original 128 odors. The result was more than a trillion.

这些发现让他们确定了最初128种气味的组合可以产生多少种不同的气味。结果是超过1万亿。

Researcher Andreas Keller of the Rockefeller University told the journal Science’s podcast why humans have such a discerning sense of smell:

洛克菲勒大学的研究员安德烈亚斯·凯勒告诉《科学》杂志播客,为什么人类有如此敏锐的嗅觉:

“Our olfactory system evolved…to discriminate very similar smells, like my baby from my neighbor’s baby, milk that’s still good from milk that turned bad. So those are very similar smells that only differ in a few components. So we evolved to be able to make those discriminations. And as a side effect of that we can discriminate all those other odors too.”

“我们的嗅觉系统进化了,能够区分非常相似的气味,比如我的孩子和邻居的孩子,还是好的牛奶和变质的牛奶。这些都是非常相似的气味,只是在一些成分上有所不同。所以我们进化到能够进行这些辨别。作为其副作用,我们也可以区分所有其他的气味。”

Thanks for the minute for Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Cynthia Graber.

感谢收听《科学美国人》的60秒科学。

辛西娅·格雷伯报道。

This is Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Cynthia Graber. Got a minute?

A bloodhound’s sense of smell is far better than its owner’s. But human olfaction is still nothing to sneeze at. Because your nose can detect at least a trillion individual scents. That’s according to research in the journalScience.

Researchers mixed together combinations of some of 128 different odors. Study subjects then smelled three samples: two of the combination scents that were the same and one that was different. Based on subjects’ id’s of the different smells, the researchers gauged how close the mixtures could be and still be distinguishable.

Those findings let them determine how many different scents could exist made of combinations of the original 128 odors. The result was more than a trillion.

Researcher Andreas Keller of the Rockefeller University told the journal Science’s podcast why humans have such a discerning sense of smell:

“Our olfactory system evolved…to discriminate very similar smells, like my baby from my neighbor’s baby, milk that’s still good from milk that turned bad. So those are very similar smells that only differ in a few components. So we evolved to be able to make those discriminations. And as a side effect of that we can discriminate all those other odors too.”

Thanks for the minute for Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Cynthia Graber.


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