Behavior: The Nose Knows

Language of body odors

Philosopher Gustav Jäger insisted that man's soul lies in his smells. Wilhelm Fliess, a Berlin doctor and friend of Freud's, regarded the nose as the most important sexual organ. Pop Sexologist Alex Comfort predicts sex signals will be found in underarm odors. In Scent Signals, Author Janet Hopson says "sexones," or sex odors, guide human sexuality.

Serious scientists have a few hunches of their own about odor power. The late anthropologist Louis Leakey suggested that body odor was a key evolutionary defense mechanism—predators may have attacked early humans only...

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