Imagine Aliens - Scented

It’s time to patrol your territory. You trundle past the crystal canyon and quartz hoodoos to get to the first marker rock. Your antennae gently tap the stone. Someone has been here, and very recently. Trespasser! You shimmy your tail to the very top of the rock and leave your scent marker. There. That should keep the riffraff out!

Scent is an excellent way to communicate: you can leave a marker to indicate a path, delineate a territory, or leave a message. Depending on how strong the odor is, your message can travel long distances and reach the scent receptors of individuals farther than you could shout or see. Your scent can be scattered into the wind, pumped into water, or deposited straight onto the ground. Or right onto your enemy! Awful scents are a great way to defend yourself – one squirt, and you send your nemesis running. Of course, if you’re looking to attract a special someone, emitting a seductive fragrance is also an excellent strategy.

The chemistry of scent is fairly complicated, but recent technologies have been developed that can detect specific smells nearly as well as the super-powered noses of dogs, which is useful if you’re looking to sniff out danger.

Nasty stink or delightful perfume – it all depends on what you’re trying to say.