Skip navigation

9.1.2. The sense of smell

The sense of smell

With smell we can capture stimuli produced by chemical substances contained in the air or in the food we are eating.

The smell is placed in the nose or nasal cavity, which has several parts:

  • Nostrils: two cavities separated by a thin septum through which air enters .
  • Nasal turbinates: bony structures that form invaginations in the walls of the nostrils.
  • Olfactory or nasal mucosa. Mucosa that lines the inner walls of the nostrils. It is called the pituitary membrane and it is of two types:
    • Red pituitary membrane. It is highly vascular (many blood vessels) that allow it to heat the air.
    • Yellow pituitary membrane. Located in the upper part of the nostrils, it contains the olfactory receptors, chemoreceptor cells that capture the aromatic particles and send the information to the olfactory bulb and from there, to the brain  through the olfactory nerve.

Anatomía de la nariz. Partes de la nariz o cavidad nasal

Basado en See page for author [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Answer in your notebook

9.3.- With what part of the nostrils do we capture the smell?