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Incredible Senses


Here are 10 Weird Senses that Humans and Other Animals Have

We humans rely heavily on sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, but there are many more sensory abilities in both humans and animals, some of which can seem bizarre or even otherworldly. These are more examples of the amazing intricate complexity of God’s creation... 

 

Proprioception

Despite the weird name, this is by far one of the most common senses among living organisms. Humans and animals alike rely on proprioception to perceive the position and movement of the body. This sense operates through specialized receptors (mechanosensory neurons) located in muscles and joints, providing crucial feedback to our brains for keeping balance, coordination, and doing precise movements.

Magnetoreception

The annual migration patterns of birds are well known. In fact, many animals, like birds, turtles, and even some insects, possess the ability to sense Earth's magnetic field. This sense, known as magnetoreception, allows them to navigate during migration or find their way home with astonishing accuracy. Even humans might have a latent ability to perceive Earth’s magnetic field through receptors in the optical retina. Can you say: Aurora Borealis?

Echolocation

Bats and dolphins are well known for their use of echolocation, emitting high-frequency sounds and interpreting the echoes to navigate and locate prey. It’s a form of active sonar that enables them to "see" their surroundings even in complete darkness. Some insects that are hunted by echolocating bats can even use countermeasures of their own, using ultrasonic clicks for echolocation jamming or imitating the call of toxic species.

Electroreception

Sharks, rays, and certain fish have electroreceptive organs called ampullae of Lorenzini, allowing them to detect the electric fields produced by other animals. This unique sense aids in both navigating and hunting in murky or dark waters.

Thermoception

Thermoception is the sense that aids in detecting changes in the surrounding temperature, and it is the reason anything feels hot or cold. In large animals, like humans, thermoception occurs mainly in the skin. But some species, like pit vipers, have specialized organs capable of detecting infrared radiation, allowing them to sense heat from prey or predators. Recently, scientists have discovered that dogs possess thermoreceptors in their noses, allowing them to detect weak thermal changes in front of them.

Hygroreception

Certain insects, such as ants and locusts, possess hygroreceptors that allow them to detect humidity levels in their environment. This sense helps them find suitable habitats for nest-building and foraging. Humans don’t have any hygroreceptors; we can only infer wetness through contextual clues - as wet objects tend to be colder or feel slippery.

Pheromone Reception

Many animals, including insects, mammals, and even some reptiles, communicate using pheromones – chemical signals similar to hormones that trigger social or reproductive behaviors. This sense plays a vital role in mate selection, territory marking, and coordination within social groups. Social insects like bees and ants make extensive use of this ability to coordinate complex colonies and establish hierarchies.

Vestibular Sense

The vestibular system is found in the inner ear of humans and most vertebrates. It contributes to balance, spatial orientation, and sense of motion. This sense is made of two main components or specialized organs: semicircular canals that indicate rotation, and otoliths, which help perceive linear acceleration. This sense helps us stay upright, perceive gravity, and coordinate movements, and is essential for activities like walking or running.

Chronoception

While not associated with a specific sensory system, humans perceive the passing of time. Some animals exhibit remarkable abilities to perceive temporal changes, a crucial ability for survival. It has even been suggested that smaller animals with a fast metabolic rate tend to experience time more slowly than larger species with slower metabolic rates. Kind of like Spiderman’s spidey-sense.

Pressure Sensitivity

African elephants possess incredibly sensitive pressure receptors called Pacinian corpuscles in their feet, which allow them to detect minute seismic vibrations and communicate over long distances. This acute sense of touch, paired with their exceptional hearing, plays a crucial role in social bonding, navigation, and detecting potential threats in their environment.

 

The Sense of Right and Wrong

Humans also experience the world through a complex series of values and emotions, such as affection, feeling, passion, and sentiment. These are strong influencers of motivation, excitement or agitation and govern our sense of justice, fairness or regret.

"Moral turpitude" is an expression used in law to designate an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of human behavior.

Scientists or academics may call these ‘subjective responses,’ rather than an innate sense, but are unable to explain how they appear to be wired into humans from the moment of birth.

The Bible offers the most credible explanation: they are a manifestation of God’s most extraordinary creation of all the human soul.  

 

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." ~ Genesis 2:7

 



 

 

 

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