Our bodies knows when death is near…it all starts with our sense of smell!

Science proved that our bodies can tell when death is near, we react it to it instinctively. Our bodies can detect plenty of smells that gets different interpretation, such as attraction, fear, or threat. It also detects death and danger of it.

We smell death, but we don’t know that’s what we’re smelling, for example: We react to the smell of something rotting just like animals do. When animals smell rotting due to ammonia, they connect it to a danger factor. It first recognizes that there’s a stronger predator nearby and second, it recognizes that there is a virus or disease that may harm us. In both cases, animals reacted by staying away of the area of the smell. A similar research examined humans and found those reactions as true and a bit scary:



Researchers examined the awareness that was created with ammonia exposure that was caused due to rotting compared to ammonia smell that derived from water and ammonia. People noticed the difference and reacted faster and quicker to the rotting smell, they became aware of it as soon as it appeared.




Another research exposed people to a rotting smell and asked them to rate it based on intensity, familiarity, and revulsion. They also checked how fast people will escape. People that were exposed to that smell before, escaped faster than people that were exposed to it only once – proving the smell creates an instinct of escape and created a need of getting away from it.


Threat and escape

When people were asked to describe in words how they felt after smelling that rotting aroma, they used many words that connected to threat, escape, getting away and running away.



Defense and hostility

In the last research, people that were exposed to the smell while reading a specific pleasant text were asked to describe how they felt. Many people felt feeling of hostility, defense, and resistance, proving the smell awakens those feelings among us.

All those studies proved our bodies can tell danger of death is near just by our sense of smell and being aware to our bodies reactions can potentially save our lives.

Those are other phenomena that happens to our bodies when we smell death and danger of death:


Trouble breathing

We mostly have the same amount of breaths per hour, when not faced with panic or exercise. When death is getting close, we start breathing faster and harder, followed by a short, flat breathing pattern.




When we feel danger of death we start getting sleepy, some soldiers even fall asleep while in combat!



People that are dying start seeing visions and become confused – they often see characters or situations that do not exist. Our mind starts playing tricks on us.


Skin changes

When our bodies are starting to die, our skin changes – it becomes clearer with a shade of blue or orange, and sometimes turns flakey and dry. Our joints usually turn red.



Our body is such a sophisticated machine and now we know it’s so smart it can actually tell when death is close, before we even realize it. What an amazing, yet scary thing to find out.



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