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你的嗅觉会强于你的想象 – 译学馆
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Your Sense of Smell Is Better Than You Think

You’ve probably heard that lots of mammals besides humans have incredible senses of smell,
like how dogs use their noses to track down food or communicate with each other or find
But think about it.
The smell of your mom’s cooking or your childhood home sometimes sets off powerful
回忆 不是吗?
memories, doesn’t it?
如果煮的食物变质了 你也能立刻知道
And you can tell right away if food goes bad.
A review published last week in the journal Science argues that humans do stack up to
在其他哺乳动物之上 尽管是因为不同的原因而察觉到不同的气味
other mammals in the smell department, although we detect different scents for different reasons.
那么 我们为什么认为我们鼻子的嗅觉很差呢?
So why do we think our noses suck?
嗯 这篇研究表明误解的原因始于
Well, this researcher suggests that it’s because of misconceptions that started with
19世纪一位名叫Paul Broca的神经解剖学家
a 19th century neuroanatomist named Paul Broca.
Your ability to smell comes from two ovals of tissue tucked under the frontal lobe called the olfactory bulbs,
which receive smell information and send it on to the rest of your brain for interpretation.
很多哺乳动物 像犬 这些嗅球就在颅骨前方而且
In many mammals, like dogs, these bulbs sit right at the front of the skull and are big
与大脑的其余部分相比 它们还很大 举个例子 比如老鼠的嗅球大约占了它们脑容量
compared to the rest of their brains — in mice, for instance, they make up about 2 percent
of total brain volume.
但是人类和其他的灵长类动物 不但嗅球传达信息的方法类型不同
But in humans and other primates, they’re kind of pushed out of the way and small by
而且比之更小 它们只占你脑容量的0.01%
comparison — they only account for about 0.01 percent of your brain volume.
因此当研究大脑额叶的解剖时 Paul Broca认为
So while investigating the anatomy of the frontal lobe, Paul Broca thought our relatively
我们相对较小的嗅球 意味着 我们的行为是通过其他的脑部区域与思考过程引导的
tiny bulbs meant that our behaviors are guided by other brain regions and thought processes,
instead of smell like many other mammals.
最近观点表明 就像历史上的一个电话游戏
This recent review suggests that, like a game of historical telephone, this idea got passed
人类没有良好的嗅觉 这个观点过去在四周传播直到一种常规的科学认识出现为止
around until a general scientific understanding was that humans have a bad sense of smell.
但是 结果发现 根据实验数据它可能没有那么简单
But, turns out, it might not be that simple, according to experimental data.
在一些研究中 科学家们将多种哺乳动物嗅球里的神经细胞数量进行了比较
In some studies, scientists compared the number of neurons in olfactory bulbs of lots of mammals,
because we think information processing has to do with the number of neurons and connections
between them, not just brain size.
这些研究的对象包括人类与动物 比如小鼠 大鼠 猴子
And humans were right up there with animals like mice, rats, and monkeys.
其他研究表明 人类在察觉某种微弱气味方面仅仅是和其他哺乳动物比起来差不多或好一点
Other studies showed that humans are just as good or better than other mammals at detecting
tiny amounts of certain scents, like some sulfur-containing compounds or the smell of bananas.
但是当它散发其他气味时 我们比鼠 狗 兔子更难察觉
But we’re also worse than mice, dogs, or rabbits when it comes to other odors.
One 2007 paper in Nature Neuroscience even found that humans can follow scent trails
like dogs.
They compared a dog following a trail of a pheasant dragged through a field to a human
与人闻巧克力精油穿过田野相比较 发现他们的路径是相似的
sniffing for chocolate essential oil, and their paths were similar!
我觉得这是一个非常滑稽的想法 那就是 人是跟在巧克力发出的气味后面
This is a hilarious thought to me that there’s just a guy sniffing through a field after
chocolate smell!
但是即使结合所有的调查 评论指出我们仍有很多需要研究的地方
But even with all this research, the review suggests that we still have a lot to learn.
我们很难与其他哺乳动物的嗅觉进行比较 是因为我们感受气味的方式
It can be hard to compare our sense of smell with other mammals because we experience scents
好比 由于我们有其他的交流方式 所以我们不用四处走动去互相闻屁股
Like, we don’t go around sniffing each other’s butts because we have other means of communication.
基本上 气味就像记忆一样 是人类社会组成必需的部分
Basically, smell is definitely part of our social makeup and things like memory, but
I don’t think we’re going to see luggage-sniffing humans at airports any time soon.
事实上 研究人员在它们的其他感官方面得到了很好的发现
In fact, researchers are doing just fine making discoveries with their other senses, like
二月 一群科学家 攀岩爱好者结成一队
In February, a group of scientists and rock climbers teamed up on a three month expedition
在世界上最高火山堆上进行为期3个月的探险 并发现了一种极其稀有的竹节虫
to the tallest volcanic stack in the world, and found an extremely rare stick insect.
这次的发现 与其他发现一起 有助于我们保护生物多样性的小角落
And this discovery, along with others, is helping us preserve little nooks of biodiversity!
在去年年底 我们做了一个列出关于地方性生物的清单
At the end of last year, we did a list show about some creatures that are endemic, meaning
they’re only found in one place.
在那个清单上有种叫做豪勋爵岛竹节虫 通常被称作
On that list was a creature called the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect, commonly known as
树龙虾 因为 嗯 它庞大而且有时微红 你知道
a Tree Lobster because… well… it’s huge and sometimes-reddish and, y’know, could
be confused for a crustacean.
在20世纪20年代 树龙虾认为是被大老鼠捕食所致而灭绝
Tree lobsters were thought to be hunted to extinction by rats in the 1920s.
但是早在21世纪 当攀登爱好者们在穿过一个陡峭的由火山岩形成的名为
But that changed in the early 2000s when rock climbers stumbled across a handful of them
Ball’s Pyramid的岩石时 被灌木丛下的树龙虾绊到后 那个观点就被改变了
under a bush on a steep volcanic rock formation called Ball’s Pyramid.
Ball’s Pyramid大概是介于澳大利亚和新西兰之间 豪勋爵岛的
Ball’s Pyramid is about halfway between Australia and New Zealand, just south of Lord
Howe Island.
两个岛都是许多地方性物种的产地 同时也是在世界文化遗产名录上
Both islands are home to lots of endemic species, and are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
从2003年起 墨尔本动物园就一直繁殖这些竹节虫 希望有一天
Since 2003, the Melbourne Zoo has been breeding these stick insects, to hopefully have enough
to reintroduce them onto Lord Howe Island someday.
After they kill all of the rats, I guess.
虽然他们最开始只有两只 但是现在有几千只了
They have thousands now, but they started with only two insects.
So scientists have been concerned about genetic diversity and their ability to adapt to their
environment when they’re released back into the wild.
因此 回到二月 来自澳大利亚博物馆研究所的科学家们
So, back in February, scientists from the Australian Museum Research Institute traveled
去岛上调查那个地方的动物群 同时与一些攀登爱好者一起寻找
to the islands to survey the fauna there, and teamed up with some rock climbers to search
for another female tree lobster.
他们找到了10个 收集了一个
They found 10, and collected one!
登山者发现她后 给她起名Vanessa 现在她安全地回到动物园
They named her Vanessa after the climber that spotted her, and she’s now safely back at
the zoo making babies.
But the discoveries didn’t end there.
The research team also came back with some tissue samples from another endemic species,
这次是一只鸟 加到超过8000个冰冻样品的博物馆的收藏里
this time a bird, to add to the museum’s collection of over 80,000 frozen samples so
scientists can look at their genomes later.
并且他们观察到一种被认为早已灭绝的甲虫 因为它在140年里
And they observed a beetle that was thought to be extinct because it hadn’t been seen
in 140 years!
这些研究人员希望他们调查的结果 未来取得的更多成果 将帮助
These researchers hope that the results of their survey, and more to come, will help
us continue to find better ways to protect the unique biodiversity of these islands.
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