JUL 08, 2017 8:18 AM PDT

Are those the pheromones talking?


You're smelling quite nice today. Or are you? Pheromones refer to the chemical hormone odors that many animals emit which help them communicate with other individuals in their species. Pheromones play a role in mating and reproduction, and for that reason have a sexy connotation - leading many pharmaceutical companies to advertise products as pheromone-provocative. But while there is still no scientific evidence verifying that humans have pheromones and no human pheromone has been identified, that's not to say that they don't exist.

German chemist Adolf Butenandt, who won a Nobel Prize , was the first to identify a pheromone, called bombykol, which is released by female silk worms to attract mates. In animals and plants pheromones are a composition of molecules that travel through air or water, or are sometimes even deposited directly onto the recipient themselves. The goal of the pheromone is to cause some behavioral or psychological reaction, relaying signals such as "I'm ready to mate," or "Help, there's danger," or "I'm really sick." Pheromones have been categorized into several classes: releaser pheromones, which promote fast-acting and short-term behavioral changes like repelling or attracting individuals; and primer pheromones, which are slower-acting and cause long-lasting behavioral changes in development. Other pheromones are known as kairomones because they are able to draw the unwanted attention of an unintended species, This is sometimes the case with army ants who leave a pheromone trail for wandering ants to find their way back to the colony; the only bad thing with this is that the brown-snouted blind snake also is attracted by that pheromone, which leads it straight to a good ant dinner. To learn more about the tricks behind pheromones, watch the video!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
NOV 06, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
NOV 06, 2020
The Most Powerful X-ray Source On Earth
Located inside the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Z Pulsed Power Facility (or Z Machine) i ...
JAN 08, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
JAN 08, 2021
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
Comedy-news shows such as those by Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee on the rise and are especially popular amo ...
APR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Celebrating National Pet Day
APR 09, 2021
Celebrating National Pet Day
Sunday, April 11, is National Pet Day! From pandemic companions to viral videos, pets are a huge part of our lives. Even ...
JUN 21, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Detect Signatures of Life on Earth Remotely
JUN 21, 2021
Scientists Detect Signatures of Life on Earth Remotely
An international team led by researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland and the National Centre of Competenc ...
JUL 30, 2021
Plants & Animals
Massive fossil Bonebed Discovered by a Ranger in the Foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains California
JUL 30, 2021
Massive fossil Bonebed Discovered by a Ranger in the Foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains California
Paleontologists gain another piece of California's past
OCT 08, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Gamma-Ray Burst from Distant Galaxy May Have Been Space Junk
OCT 08, 2021
Gamma-Ray Burst from Distant Galaxy May Have Been Space Junk
In 2020, scientists observed something incredible: they had measured a gamma-ray burst from a distant galaxy called GNz1 ...
Loading Comments...