England's Sword 2.0

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Smells Like Evolution

I'm wondering if someone can answer this for me. Watching the Wiggles with Helen, it suddenly occurred to me that the scent of freshly baked bread could be an example of recent human evolution. Hear me out. The fresh baked bread smell in most western countries is universally considered a good smell conveying feelings of warmth and comfort. I imagine the smell of cooking tortillas and rice have a similar effect in their respective societies.

I would argue that this positive emotional response to such scents is an example of the impact of agriculture on human evolution. Let's face it, bread is rarely baked in the home any more. And yet, the smell still evokes immediate positive emotions. What is the connection but that since the rise of agriculture, humans have associated the smell of baking bread with survival, home, and food?

Our daily bread (rice/tortillas) may have forged a connection between a very specific smell and a general positive emotion. Could this be an example of human evolution? What do ya'll think?