According to a study on a primate cousin of humans, mandrills, smell could be a crucial factor besides good looks in deciding upon a partner. It was found by the study that mandrills could make use of body odor for identifying suitable mates.
The study appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B and the research was led by Dr Leslie Knapp from the University of Cambridge.
“Our results strongly suggest that smell allows mandrills to transmit information about their own genetic quality and similarity to one another,” the Daily Express quoted Knapp as saying.
“By using smell they can then identify potential partners with the appropriate genes.
“What we can infer for humans is that there are some very old behaviours at play here.
“Our early ancestors may have relied on smell in a similar way, and although we may think choosing a partner has more to do with looks or sound, smell can play an important role in the process,” he added.
The team investigated the “major histocompatibility complex” or “MHC” genes – a diverse cluster of genes that play a key role in the immune system.
It was remarked by Dr Knapp that the finding support the theory that human beings may also be able to “sniff out” a good partner with the appropriate genes.