, Volume 104, Issue 3, pp 259–263

Olfaction and human kin recognition

  • Richard H. Porter

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026404319384

Cite this article as:
Porter, R.H. Genetica (1998) 104: 259. doi:10.1023/A:1026404319384


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.

chemical communication kin recognition mother‐infant interactions odor signatures olfaction 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard H. Porter
    • 1
  1. 1.URA CNRS/INRAVanderbilt UniversityNashville, TNUSA

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