, Volume 104, Issue 3, pp 259-263

Olfaction and human kin recognition

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Humans, like other mammals, are capable of discriminating between kin and non‐kin by olfactory cues alone. Shortly after birth, breastfed infants become familiar with, and respond preferentially to, their mother' unique odor signature. Mothers likewise recognize the characteristic scent of their newborn infant. Close biological relatives share somewhat similar odor signatures (presumably resulting from genetically mediated similarities in bodily biochemistry and metabolism) that could facilitate kin recognition.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.