How do wolves smell

Why does the smell of blood attract wolves and deter people?

To study how prey animals would react to the chemical compound, the researchers tested it on mice. They placed an odorless solution in one corner of a mouse cage and blood in another. The mice that came near the blood were consistently repelled by it and withdrew to the opposite corner of the cage. When the blood was replaced with E2D, they showed the same reaction

"If your life depends on a certain type of food and there are chemical stimuli that you can use, it would be of high adaptive value if you can smell that smell," says Artin Arshamian, one of the authors of the study. "Conversely, if you are the source of food yourself, it would be good to have an indication as early as possible that an animal that wants to eat you is approaching or is nearby."


To see how people would react to E2D, Lundström and Arshamian tested the compound on 40 male and female college students. When the E2D was pumped through tubes into the students' nostrils, they tended to move back a fraction of a millimeter. According to the researchers, this is a normal sign of dislike. They also excreted more sweat than the control attempt with a different compound.

It is also noteworthy that the students rated the smell as largely neutral when asked to rate it as pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

Arshamian points out that an aversion to E2D does not necessarily imply an aversion to blood.

"One important factor is that learning your sense of smell is really important," he said.

Gallery: wolves