The sense of smell is still a mystery for scientists. It is amazing how the molecules inhaled by the nose can become an olfactory experience. Through the years, experts have been using different ways in describing what happens when we smell. Because researchers from Washington University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science believe that lab experiments could never explain the smelling phenomena in the real world, they decided to use locusts.
They found out that locusts have one neuron subset that fires whenever a specific scent is presented with other scents. The researchers were then able to determine how the locusts were able to detect the scent. They found out that the locusts are flexible in determining the scent. These insects’ brains have a fixed pattern of activity when they smell a target, even if there are many distractors around them. Hopefully, this study will pave the way toward understanding and explaining the experience of smell.