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supposedly we have an extra "sex organ" up our nose! the vomeronasal organ, if this is true, why am i not aroused by simply picking or poking my nose?
In animals (other than humans)The vomeronasal organ is used in the detection of pheromones by some animals such as mice, although some pheromones are detected by the main olfactory epithelium, and the vomeronasal organ detects other compounds in addition to pheromones.Snakes use this organ to sense prey, sticking their tongue out to gather scents and touching it to the opening of the organ when the tongue is retracted. Elephants transfer chemosensory stimuli to the vomeronasal opening in the roof of their mouths using the prehensile structure, sometimes called a "finger", at the tips of their trunks. Some mammals use a distinctive facial movement called the flehmen response to direct inhaled compounds to this organ. House cats often may be seen making this grimace when examining a scent that interests them. In some other mammals, the entire organ contracts or pumps in order to draw in the scents.In humansAnatomical studies demonstrate that in humans the vomeronasal organ regresses during fetal development, as is the case with some other mammals, including apes, cetaceans, and some bats. There is no evidence of a neural connection between the organ and the brain in adult humans. Nevertheless, a small pit may be found in the nasal septum of some people, and some researchers have argued that this pit represents a functional vomeronasal organ. Thus, its possible presence in adult humans remains controversial.
A pheromone is a chemical that triggers an innate behavioural response in another member of the same species. There are alarm pheromones, food trail pheromones, sex pheromones, and many others that affect behavior or physiology. Their use among insects has been particularly well documented, although many vertebrates and plants also communicate using pheromones.A few well-controlled scientific studies have been published suggesting the possibility of pheromones in humans. The best-studied case involves the synchronization of menstrual cycles among women based on unconscious odor cues (the so called McClintock effect, named after the primary investigator). This study proposes that there are two types of pheromone involved: "One, produced prior to ovulation, shortens the ovarian cycle; and the second, produced just at ovulation, lengthens the cycle". This is analogous to the Whitten effect, a male pheromone mediated modulation of estrus observed in mice.Other studies have suggested that people might be using odor cues associated with the immune system to select mates who are not closely related to themselves. (See Disassortative sexual selection) Using a brain imaging technique, Swedish researchers have shown that homosexual and heterosexual males' brains respond differently to two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal, and that the homosexual men respond in the same way as heterosexual women. The study was expanded to included lesbian women and the results were consistent with previous findings meaning that homosexual women were not as responsive to male identified odors but their response to female cues was similar to heterosexual males. According to the researchers, this research suggests a possible role for human pheromones in the biological basis of sexual orientation. Another study demonstrated that the smell of androstadienone, a chemical component of male sweat, maintains higher levels of cortisol in females. The scientists suggest that the ability of this compound to influence the endocrine balance of the opposite sex makes it a human pheromonal chemosignal.In 2006 it was shown that a second mouse receptor sub-class is found in the olfactory epithelium. Called the trace amine-associated receptors (TAAR), some are activated by volatile amines found in mouse urine, including one putative mouse pheromone. Orthologous receptors exist in humans providing, the authors propose, evidence for a mechanism of human pheromone detection.Some commercially-available substances are advertised using claims that the products contain human sexual pheromones and can act as an aphrodisiac. These often lack credibility due to an excessive marketing of pheromones by unsolicited e-mail. Despite claims to the contrary, no defined pheromonal substance has ever been demonstrated to directly influence human behavior in a peer reviewed, published study.
Thanks Paul!The last link does not work for me. It gives me a little candy corn symbol error! LOL..