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Does the Nose Really Know? Weird Facts About Noses

Updated on August 12, 2013
Wonder what her nose is smelling?
Wonder what her nose is smelling? | Source

When people say 'the nose knows,' they could mean one of several things. They could be alluding to the fact that our noses have an exceptional sense of smell. They could also be using the phrase as a euphemism for knowing something that one could not possibly know.

Either way, our noses don't usually get a lot of attention, unless they're runny or we suspect that a celebrity has had something done to theirs. Here are a bunch of nose facts, trivial, superstitions, quotes and proverbs for the curious.

Is this as perfect as a nose will ever be?
Is this as perfect as a nose will ever be? | Source

Just the Facts

  • Babies instinctively know their mothers by their scents.
  • Women are able to smell more scents than men.
  • Two little patches high up in our nasal cavities are responsible for out ability to smell. They are made up of about six million cells.
  • Humans can detect around 10,000 scents. Dogs can smell up to twenty times as many
  • The human brain dedicates less of it's brain to smelling than other animals, including fish.
  • After age 65, a human loses some of their ability to smell. By the time we reach our eighties, our sense of smell can decrease by as much as 50%.
  • Illnesses can cause a loss of the sense of smell, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. A zinc deficiency can also decrease the sense of smell.
  • Smelling is officially called 'olfaction.' Our sense of smell is referred to as the olfactory sense.
  • Although people are known to break their noses on occasion, there are no bones in them. What gets broken is a piece of cartilage.
  • Any air we breathe in through our noses is cooled or warmed to body temperature before it hits our lungs.
  • Anosmia is when we do not have the ability to smell, dyosmia is an incorrect sense of smell and hyperosmia is when someone is overloaded by their sense of smell.
  • People who have chronic allergy problems often scratch or push their noses, causing a small crease just above the tip of the nose.

If you think the stuff growing in your fridge smells bad, imagine how this guy feels?
If you think the stuff growing in your fridge smells bad, imagine how this guy feels? | Source

Trivia, Superstitions, Quotes and Other Tidbits

  • If your nose itchy, you are either going to be receiving visitors, you will be getting kissed by a fool or you will be getting into a fight with someone very soon. If it's itching because you're getting a visitor, the right side itching indicates a female is coming, if the left itches, a male is going to show up.
  • If you see an ambulance, you will have bad luck unless you hold your nose until you see a black dog.
  • Some people can 'smell' rain coming. This is because of something called geosmin molecules in soil that react as the temperature and possibly the air pressure changes as a storm approaches.
  • A German proverb says to 'never tickle the nose of a sleeping bear.'
  • Matthew Parker was an English clergyman and the Archbishop of Canterbury during Elizabeth I's rule. He is known as 'Nosey' Parker, because he had a habit of sticking his nose where it did not belong.
  • Tycho Brahe was a Danish philosopher. He is most remembered, though, for losing the tip of his nose in a sword fight. He replaced it with a piece of gold.
  • Thomas Wedders, a circus performer who lived in the 1700's had a nose that measured almost eight inches long.
  • Madeleine Albrecht has a job as an official foot smeller. She also holds the Guinness Record for having smelled the most feet, at 5600 in fifteen years.
  • Woody Allen once said 'I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.'
  • Many people do not like the appearance of their noses, which is why plastic surgery to reconstruct the nose, otherwise known as rhinoplasty, is the most common surgical cosmetic procedure.
  • According to plastic surgeons, the most requested female nose for rhinoplasties is Natalie Portman's which is ironic since she has had a nose job! The noses in second and third places are currently Emma Stone's and Nicole Kidman's.
  • There are over a billion facial tissues used by humans each year.
  • I'm not sure if this is superstition or not, but it is said that you should never hold your nose and cover your mouth when sneezing, as it can blow out your eyeballs.
  • Pepper makes us sneeze because a alkaloid found naturally in pepper irritates our noses. The chemical is called piperine.

© 2012 Georgie Lowery


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