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Date registered: Apr 2006
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Lion urine has been used by a student from south Wales to study the link between smell and stress in humans.
David Reardon, 21, from Newport, who is studying biological sciences at Coventry University said that the project was a roaring success.
Urine taken from lions at Twycross Zoo in the west Midlands and other scents including roses, citrus and cinnamon were used in the experiment.
The aim of the research was to find out how stressed people became when smelling certain odours.
People taking part in the research were asked to smell unmarked containers which held t-shirts soaked in a variety of odours while their reactions were recorded.
"I wanted to do a project using the resources that were near me and there is zoo near Coventry, so I thought I would do a project using mammal scent," said Mr Reardon.
"I think the zoo thought it was a bit of a prank when I first asked them and I had to get written confirmation from my project supervisor.
"In a nutshell my research showed that women prefer sweeter smells and the men weren't that bothered.
"In the animal kingdom smells are used to assist in finding a mate.
Lion urine was used to determine the stress levels in humans
"Humans are animals and I wanted to see whether the same applied to the scent of men and women and also the different reactions to pleasant and unpleasant smells.
"I decided to include the scent of lion urine because lions are one of the biggest predators and I wanted to investigate the stress reaction felt by humans when they smelt this scent," he said.
Mr Reardon asked 16 people to smell unmarked sealed containers while he recorded their reaction, heart rate, blood pressure and immune response.
"Many of the women triggered an excited response when smelling the scent of roses and the men preferred the citrus fragrance," he said.
But the smell of lion urine did not appeal to the participants.
"One person vomited after they smelt the lion urine," he said.
Doctor Rubina Mian who led the stress research group at the university said: "I am delighted with the initiative David has shown in this project.
"I think Twycross Zoo were a little confused when David asked for some lion pee but they have been most helpful."