Your New Senses/Nosing Out a Mate; Your Bionic Future; Scientific American Presents; by Pescovitz; 4 Page(s)
IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT in the year 2030 and time for your night on the town. It doesn't matter much what you wear, just be sure to dab on a little of that stuff you bought from the local pheromone shop. You might reach for a vial of your own essence that's been specially concentrated to make the most of your own attractive powers-or maybe you favor a synthesized version of the moviestar-of-the-moment's je ne sais quoi. Perhaps you go for a tube of the chemistry of some unknown person who just happens to be better-looking, more confident or blessed with superior genes to yours. Regardless, it's off to the neighborhood Fern-and-Sniff bar, and good luck!
Recent research suggests that humans, like many other organisms, can be sensitive to pheromones, which are thought to be odorless chemicals secreted from the body and picked up by a special organ in the nose. In the animal kingdom and among insects, pheromones convey information to other members of the species about an individual's gender, reproductive status and rank on the social ladder. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, pheromones are not strictly sex attractants, but they do play a role in the mating rituals of everything from moths to mice.