If there were a group of primates very similar to humans, and they had vomeronasal organs, what should the sensitivity or accuracy of such organs be? The race has a lengthened face to accommodate for a longer nasal bridge containing increased olfactory receptor cells. Also, the race evolved in a rainforest were it probably would be more difficult to smell at certain times of day because of heavy rain. It is important for them to smell fruit because that makes up most of their diet. Each individual in the race has a stronger odor than regular humans to allow scenting from a distance and keep his or her scent even after rain. How accurate should the sense of smell have evolved to be to detect certain hormonal cues and sense ripe fruit from a distance in these conditions?

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps they have a much stronger sense of smell because of the rain. If the rain removes most of the floating particles that carry odors, then they may have adapted to needing a significantly smaller concentration for detection. $\endgroup$
    – NofP
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 12:22
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    $\begingroup$ As accurate as you need it to be. We smell different substances at different concentrations. If you need them to be able to smell some fruit you don't need a specific explanation. Our sense of smell is insanely good when it comes to certain substances. Also please note the complexity of the issue. Some substances change how they smell depending on the concentration for example. You can do pretty much anything you like basically $\endgroup$
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ I don't feel qualified to answer, but I offer that some animals can smell their food from miles away if their food emits even a mild odor (ie: what you or I might smell from a few feet away). Perhaps you could also say that your fruit has a strong smell to it to maximize this. The chemicals in the air on their planet will also affect this, so you could say your air is better suited to conducting odors. $\endgroup$
    – Loduwijk
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ One other consideration is what climate/ecosystem they currently live in, since scent carries differently. Where they originally evolved may differ from the species' current whereabouts. $\endgroup$
    – user47438
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ What measure of accuracy are you expecting? $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 1:33

1 Answer 1


A vomeronasal organ would allow for strong detection of hormones, so it seems that your race would react strongly to certain hormonal signals. Heavy rain in the Amazon Rain Forest causes Jaguars to have a smell, apparently, so I wouldn't doubt that the race would have a smell to match their ability to smell. Folks in the comments had some good points about smell strength for different things, so I'll say they would probably be very sensitive to whatever they eat. Humidity also strengthens smell, so if the race has a strong sense of smell outside of the rain forest, it would be even stronger in the rain forest. It would be quite useful for finding a suitable partner, or to tell how someone is feeling as well. Not to mention the hilarious flehmen response that comes with a VNO!


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