Everybody knows that blood lures predators and makes them rush and catch the available prey. However, they are not the only ones who can sense the typical scent of blood. Animals who often serve as prey can feel it as well, and it triggers a feeling of panic and danger which can sometimes save their life.
E2D makes animals thirsty for blood
Researchers managed to identify the blood component which activates the killer instinct in different predator species. It seems that this component, called E2D, has different effects on animals, and each species perceives it in other ways. Predators are not the only ones which can sense it, so the component triggers an opposite reaction in prey.
This is the first time when a study analyzes the opposite effect a scent component has on different species. In fact, particularities typical to each animal are those which influence their sense of smell, and what they make out of a scent. While predators know they should get ready for hunting, the prey knows it has to hide.
The same component can be perceived by humans or by vulnerable prey
Researchers discovered this blood component in 2014. Back then, they managed to isolate several molecules of E2D, and impregnate some wooden sticks with its scent. Afterwards, they tested it on three species of predators, and observed how they acted the same towards it as they acted towards real blood.
In the new study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers tested the scent’s effect on the victims. They seem to have evolved a protection mechanism, which helps them avoid the area where a bloody fight is going on. Humans can perceive the odor as well, as they expressed a gesture of repulsion when being sprayed with the scent.
The discovery regarding humans was extremely interesting, as the participants could perceive the scent even at extremely small concentrations. This might hint to our past, and the fact that early humans unconsciously avoided getting eaten by animals by running away from their preying areas.
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