Women's better sense of smell due to more brain cells
New research published in PLOS ONE suggests that women have a better sense of smell than men because they have more brain cells dedicated to picking up odors.
Scientists at Federal University in Brazil examined post-mortem brains from seven men and 11 women who were all healthy and older than 55 when they died. None of the subjects had worked in jobs that required them to have an exceptional sense of smell, such as cooking or coffee-tasting. Using a isotropic fractionator (a method of measuring the number of cells in a brain region), the team calculated the number of cells in the olfactory bulbs of the subjects and found that, on average, the women had 42 percent more cells in this brain region than the men. It appears that women are equipped with these extra cells from birth, since we don’t accumulate more cells as we grow.
While uncertain why women have these extra cells and how these cells are produced, the researchers suggested that perhaps women are hard-wired this way to help in the bonding process after giving birth to a baby or to help select a mate.