"The sense of smell is directly linked to memories to an extent that no other sense is. This explains why smells immediately incite strong emotions concerning past events and also strong feelings about people," Katerina Harvati, of the University of Tubingen and the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoecology in Germany, said in a university news release.We also know that Neandertals had longer nasal passages and larger noses—in part to help the air, which was cold, reach body temperature when it reached the nasal membranes.To help this , the infraorbital plates swung out from the middle of the face. Whether this is related to the study by Harvati is not clear.
The better sense of smell in H. sapiens may be related to the evolution of social functions such as recognition of related people, enhanced family relations, group cohesion and social learning, Harvati and colleagues suggested.
"Although traditionally olfaction in primates and humans has been considered a less important sense, our study reevaluates its potential significance for human evolution, and particularly for the social evolution of our own species, Homo sapiens," they concluded.
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