Why Do Humans Smell Like Food?

There's a catchy title for you! I was thinking about this today as I was coming back from dropping my son off at school and as a woman walked past me, I distinctly smelled watermelon. There was no watermelon around, so it had to be the woman's perfume, which lead me to ask myself, "Why do humans want to smell like food?"

Think about it. When our ancestors climbed down from the trees, we were often some predator's dinner. We smelled like food. A good way to stop smelling like food is to change your scent by washing yourself. Then when our ancestors decided they were tired of being on the menu, and became hunters, it was important again to change our scent so as not to scare off a meal. Thousands of years later, and we were using flowers and oils as perfumes to make us attractive to the opposite sex.

It wasn't until modern man, in an industrial age, that perfume manufacturers started selling sweet fruit scented concoctions. I guess somewhere along the line, we overcame that deep rooted instinct not to smell like something edible. Maybe something in our psyche told us that carnivores don't like fruit.

I don't know about that. I know dogs who like watermelon and strawberries. Genetically, dogs and wolves are 98.8 percent identical. So, if a dog likes watermelon, might not a wolf, too? Most of us who live in cities don't have any issues with wolves coming to have us for dinner, but then, there's always a chance. Maybe the smell of lots of dinners will make us prey again.


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