The key is the smell

1987/08/01 Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

The influence of smell on animal behavior has long been known. Therefore, the odorous substances poured by the animals have an undeniable role in the marking of the territory, in the identification of friends and enemies and in the search for a breeding companion. Insect pheromone has aroused the curiosity of scientists in the last 20-30 years and their study, identification and behavior has generated a lot of scientific literature.

Pheromones are molecules that an animal emits into the air and cause a reflex behavior in another species. They have a lot to do with reproduction.

Insect pheromones are the most studied, since it is believed that, apart from being the simplest, they will be useful as insecticides. (Using pheromones from an insect, the specimens of this species can be attracted to traps and eliminated in them. This pathway can be very suitable for insect control, since specific pheromones could cause the death of insects of a single type.)

Mammalian pheromones are more complex and their study poses great difficulties. It was also thought that the man had no pheromones. This conviction is because researchers Winnifred Cutler and George Preti have identified two pheromones of man. The pheromones identified have been dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate and androsterone sulfate.

The importance of smell in human sexual behavior has long been debated. In 1886 physiologist Auguste Gallopin wrote that sexual love was an odour interaction. German Wilhelm Fliess tried to demonstrate that there is a direct relationship between olfactory and sexual processes. Freud said that man has suppressed his smell and sexuality. However, for other scientists human pheromones did not exist and, according to them, the cerebral cortex has replaced the primitive sense of smell in humans. Others have held contrary views.

There are also gossip on this subject. British writer Somerset Maugham said about his friend H G Wells. Wells was not a handsome man, but the women followed him. When Maugham asked one of Wells' lovers what he found in him, he replied that he had a "honey smell."

According to Cultler and Preti, human pheromones play an important role as regulators of female menstruation. Studies indicate that the male presence regulates the female cycle.