Olfaction and human kin recognition
- 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.