- Non-human mammals and non-mammal animal species possess a tissue called the vomeronasal organ (VNO), which is located in the nasal cavity, that detects pheromones.
- Humans have a VNO at birth but it becomes functionally inactive after birth due to lack of protein expression, loss of bipolar receptor cells, and absence of accessory olfactory bulb.
- Some pheromones are detected by regular olfaction rather than VNO in non-human mammals.
- Human olfaction is as good as other mammals but not consciously developed; however it can improve with practice for certain molecules like androstenone.
- Pheromone solutions are often applied to the skin transdermally to affect physical parameters such as those related to autonomic nervous system activity
Have you ever heard of pheromones? We often hear about them in the context of non-human mammals and animals, but what do we really know about their role in humans? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the science behind human pheromone detection. Let’s dive in!
What are Pheromones?
Pheromones are chemical signals released by animals that act as messengers between individuals. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including mating, territoriality, and social interactions. These chemicals contain information about the identity, gender, and mood of the animal releasing them.
Vomeronasal Organ (VNO)
In non-human mammals such as cats and dogs, a specialized organ called the vomeronasal organ (VNO) is responsible for detecting pheromones. Located within the nasal cavity of these animals, this organ contains several structures called sensory neurons that pick up on specific types of molecules from the environment. After birth, this organ begins to work to detect pheromones in order to recognize members of their own species and initiate certain behaviors like mating or territorial behavior.
Olfaction in Non-Human Mammals
While other mammals rely heavily on VNO to detect pheromones, they also use olfactory receptors located within their noses to detect other molecules in their environment. This regular olfaction is both more efficient and accurate when it comes to detecting different types of molecules than VNO is for detecting pheromones specifically. Over time, many animals have developed adaptations that enhance their olfactory abilities even further—from special cells that increase sensitivity to scents to additional receptors that can detect more compounds than before. Additionally, different species have evolved different kinds of receptors depending on their needs; for example, bats have adapted special sensors so they can better detect insect prey while flying at high speeds through dark environments.
Humans and Pheromone Detection
Humans have less sensitive olfactory systems compared to most other mammals which makes it harder for us to consciously detect pheromone signals from other individuals like some other species can do instinctively. While there is some research exploring ways for humans to improve our sense of smell through training or technology, most attempts so far have been unsuccessful due largely to our anatomy being ill-suited for smelling volatile compounds as accurately as other species do naturally. Another way humans can interact with pheromones is by using synthetic solutions applied transdermally via lotion or spray—which has been proven effective in certain situations where people need increased confidence or help finding potential partners who share similar interests as them.
All species rely on chemical signaling as an important part of communication between individuals—including humans! While non-human mammals typically use a combination of VNO and regular olfaction when it comes to detecting molecules like pheromones from each other, humans typically don’t have the same level of sensitivity when it comes to picking up these compounds consciously. Still though there are ways we can interact with these signals either through improving our sense of smell or using synthetic solutions applied transdermally—both which could potentially aid us when it comes to connecting with others on a deeper level! Thanks for reading!