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

From: James Rogers (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 09:59:14 MDT

On Thu, 08 Jun 2000, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> 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
> smell.

I agree that our sense of smell isn't as highly developed as some animals,
but it is still capable of a reasonably high level of discrimination.

With respect to the "fuzziness" of the biometric, while the exact smell
does change as a function of the things you list above, there is a
baseline smell that does not. If you collect smell samples over a period
of time, you will end up with a fairly good profile of a person's scent
signature. Or I could be completely looped :^)

-James Rogers

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