Re: Identity by smell (was Re:silly walks department)

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 13:47:38 MDT

James Rogers wrote:
> From: "John Calvin" <>
> >
> > I do have a couple of friends that I am sure I could recognize by smell.
> I can identify all of my female companions by smell; every girl smells
> slightly different. It is like any other identity marker. In fact, I
> think that most people could accurately identify individuals they are
> intimately familiar with using any one of their five senses. I would
> expect that the same applies to males, but I've never been in a position
> to know :^)
> However, going out on a limb, I've also noticed that ethnic groups as a
> whole have a characteristic smell that is not dependent on where they
> actually live. In other words, a Japanese girl born and raised in New
> York will have a similar type of smell to one born and raised in Tokyo,
> but will smell distinctly different than, say, a girl of Mexican descent.
> In other words, it has always seemed to me that genetically similar groups
> of people have a similar and characteristic smell, although each
> individual in that group will have their own unique version of it. I
> wonder how much smell actually influences mate selection and
> supports similar types of subconscious communication.

Of course this subject is going to be taken by the hypersensitive as bigoted or
racist, no doubt about it...though nobody has said that such and so smells BAD.

I suppose this is associated with how many species parents keep track of their
kids by smell. Human capacity for smelldentification is rather obvsiously
limited, though animals like dogs, rodents, and so forth I beleive involve much
more of their processing ability on smell. I would imagine though that this
would be a pretty fuzzy biometric to use for identification, since diet, degree
of sexual stimulation, and health also have an impact upon variance in one's

Mike Lorrey

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