Animal Senses vs Human Senses
Animal Senses vs Human Senses
Through research I discovered that there are animals that have senses that by far exceed our five human senses. One of the animals would be the bat that we spoke about in class. Bats avoid obstacles and nab insects on the wing by emitting ultrasonic squeaks and interpreting the echo the sound waves make after bouncing off objects in the environment. This is called “echolocation,” but bats aren’t the only animals that use echolocation. Dolphins also use echolocation to navigate themselves in murky water.
Sharks were also discussed in class. Sharks have special cells in their brains that are sensitive to the electrical fields other creatures generate. This ability is so refined in some sharks that they can find fish hiding under sand by the weak electric signals their twitching muscles emit. They pick any electrical signal around them and even the weakest of electrical pulses give them a reason to investigate if its food or not. There are a few animals that we didn’t speak about in class that have senses that far exceed our own.
For example Boa constrictors (large snake) have Temperature-sensitive organs located between the eyes and nostrils of boas and pit vipers allow the snakes to sense the body heat of their prey. There is one located on each side of the snakes’ head, so the animals can perceive depth and attack with deadly accuracy even in complete darkness. Snakes in general also have another sense that is similar in a way to ours. Snakes have a forked tongue that is used to sniff its surroundings. Snakes use their tongues to collect particles wafting in the air.
The coated tongue is then dipped into special pits in the roofs of the snake’s mouth, called Jacobson’s organs. There, the odors get processed and translated into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. Humans use their eyes to see their surroundings but the object in front of them is processed almost like our eyes take a picture and send the image to the brain they can recognize the object. The final one would be the Migratory birds. Birds that migrate can use the Earth’s magnetic field to stay their course during long flights.
Scientists still aren’t sure how they do it, but one recent study suggests birds might have a form of synesthesia (a condition in which one sense (for example, hearing) is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight) that lets them “see” the planet’s magnetic lines as patterns of color or light that is overlaid on their visual surroundings. Humans must rely on familiar landmarks or the sun’s position to locate north, and there are a lot of humans that can barely manage to do that.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 25 December 2016
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