[LMB] OT: Genetics & Culture

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Fri Nov 17 00:49:09 GMT 2017

On Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 6:43 PM, Pat Mathews <MATHEWS55 at msn.com> wrote:

> I'm not so sure the vomeronasal organ is totally nonfunctional.

Oh, it is.  Our nervous system still responds to the pheromones - we get
weird when we're exposed to levels concentrated enough to reach them.  What
the v. organ was for was to respond to relatively low levels of 'em.

>  I note, ObBujold, that Tej and Rish Shiv Arqua each seem to have one that
> works just fine - far above and beyond the ordinary sense of smell. A
> legacy of their formidable, if socially clueless, Cetagandan grandmother.

Clueless?  You read the passages with her very differently than I did.

But they weren't necessarily responding to the pheromones, they could
identify the scent of them, which is a quite different matter.  We don't
notice any particular odor associated with the pheromones that have been
identified, it's just that our behavior changes.  (Including developing an
overpowering desire for entire research teams to learn to play card games
together during their lunch hours.)  They've clearly been engineered so
that they smell, but do not react to, chemicals humans release.

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