For some time now, I’ve been considering the possibility that humans have some sense that the other intelligent species don’t.
I mean, just look at the species on Earth: insects can see UV, some reptiles can see infrared, some organisms have no sight at all, some can sense magnetism, etc. It’s not impossible that humans have one or more senses that an alien might not.
While this could apply to any number of senses, I’ve always thought it particularly interesting to contemplate the possibility of a species with no sense of smell.
Smell is something that’s so commonplace among a great number of the species of Earth that many of us overlook it, but it is so critical to how we experience the world. It helps us to remember places, people, and events. We use it to determine whether or not something is safe to eat. It helps us detect impending changes in weather. It tells us if there’s a fire or something giving off dangerous vapours nearby.
Now just imagine some alien species with absolutely no olfactory capability whatsoever. They look around at us inhaling very deliberately through these holes in the middle of our faces and reacting with pleasure, disgust, apprehension, confusion, etc. for no apparent reason. Shoving our faces into flowers, discarding food, acting concerned, reminiscing, doing all manner of things for reasons that are totally beyond their perception.