Some Women Without Olfactory Bulbs Can Still Smell—How?

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The more scientists study the human body, the more obvious it is that we’re “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Our bodies bear the hallmarks of design and the fingerprints of God. And a new study is highlighting that truth by demonstrating, once again, how incredibly designed our brains and systems are.

According to a new study, some women who are missing (or, at the very least, have significantly reduced) olfactory bulbs in their brains are still able to smell. It is a surprising result because the olfactory bulbs are the part of the brain known to process the electrical signals the brain receives from the nose. But women in this study who lack these bulbs (and, interestingly, most are left-handed) had a nearly normal sense of smell.

The neuroscientist leading the study explains,

The simplest interpretation of our findings is that these women were born without an olfactory bulb, but thanks to the extreme plasticity of the developing brain, they developed an alternative glomeruli map somewhere else in the brain not in the olfactory bulb . . . Although such plasticity is amazing, it is not out of the realm of what we have seen in human development.
For all the research conducted on the human brain, no one truly understands how it all functions.

This plasticity of the brain certainly isn’t the first example that we’ve seen. (Please check out this article from 2018 about a boy who was missing his visual cortex, the part of the brain that normally processes vision, and could still see.) God has designed our brains and our bodies in such a remarkable way that, even in this sin-cursed and broken world, they respond in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We truly are fearfully and wonderfully made!

And let’s face it. For all the research conducted on the human brain, no one truly understands how it all functions. Its complexity is beyond our understanding.

Get More Answers on Answers News

This item was discussed Monday on Answers News with Dr. Georgia Purdom, Bodie Hodge, and Roger Patterson. Answers News is our weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum and broadcast on my Facebook page and the Answers in Genesis Facebook page. We also covered the following intriguing topics:

  • “In God We Trust” will stay on Florida state patrol cars
  • Does quoting the Bible put others’ lives at risk?
  • Was “Lucy” just a “dumb” ape?
  • And more!

Watch the entire episode of Answers News for November 18, 2019.

Be sure to join us each Monday at 2 p.m. (ET) for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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