They say man has 5 senses: Sight, Hearing, Taste, Touch, and Smell. Really? Some claim they have a sixth sense. The intuition. They seem to know the future. They seem to have the sense to see the past: things that happened in the past ... things that were so far removed in space and time from them that there is no logical explanation of how these individuals with a sixth sense could have known it.
The social animal Homo sapiens has 5 senses, which are the information gathering gadgets. The brain processes the information and we make some sense of the world around us. There are millions of inputs in our brain at any given moment. Our brain is a sensitive instrument ... it is able to process these inputs brought to it by its data gathering friends, the 5 senses.
One would presume that the brain would be limited by its own capacity to process information, as well as by the capacity of its data gathering friends, the 5 senses. So the more sensitive the brain is, and the more efficient the senses are, the more accurate the outcome should be of this whole exercise involving the interplay of senses and the brain. This is pretty advanced in Homo sapiens. Probably more so than in other animals.
Many animals, wild and domestic, do have senses that are far superior to those of men. Eagle has a sharper eye, dog has a sharper more advanced sense of smell, owl has night vision much superior to that of man, insects have a tactile sense superior to that of men, elephants can hear sound waves humans cannot even imagine, and who knows which animals have a sense of taste that is far superior to that of man. And yet, humans have probably developed their cranial lobes to an extent that they are able to process the meager amount of information our weak senses feed our brain in a hyper efficient way to extract all the info we need for our survival and continual domination of the animal kingdom.
And I always wonder: why do we have only 5 senses? I mean there are more than 5 senses in the world today, and these extra senses are present and functioning in other animals.
These senses are absent in Homo sapiens:
ECHOLOCATION: This is the sense that enables a bat to radiate ultrasonic sound waves to an object, and when the waves get reflected back to the bat, the bat knows the shape and distance of the object. This is really amazing. This is far superior to the ultrasound that I use in my veterinary hospital. This sense is totally missing in Homo sapiens.
ELECTRORECEPTION: Some animals (fish) including sharks have the ability to detect even minor electrical fields. When a doctor puts leads on your chest and plots an ECG, he is basically measuring the electrical impulses your heart is radiating to your skin. But these electrical impulses do not stop at our skin. If we are in salty water, e.g. in Seawater, these impulses will travel in the salty water. And, a shark can detect these from a distance. Scary, right? Absolutely! We humans do not have any electroreception. Well, I take it back: we do have some, but we really have to almost touch the source of electricity to feel it. I know we can sometimes feel the static electricity on our hairs! But that is not what electroreception is. We humans totally lack this sense.
MAGNETORECEPTION: This is the sense that tells an animal which direction he is facing, vis a vis the Earth's magnetic field. That is how many avian species especially migratory birds know which direction to fly to, and reach their destination thousands of miles away!
I guess we Homo sapiens could use something like that, especially if it tells us the direction of our actions. I guess we can call it our moral compass! Well, we do have it, (I mean most of us do have it) and it is another story how well or how often we use it! But sorry, I am digressing.
OTHERS: The ability to sense pressure waves with a high level of sophistication, body's orientation in water etc. are some other senses that are not natural to humans.
So my point is that we have 5 senses and we are totally lacking so many other senses. Not only that, we have our 5 senses that are way inferior to those of animals'.
Animals are our relatives. Evolutionary speaking. I think they do deserve our respect. Oh yeah! It is not a typo, I mean it. They do deserve our respect. They have earned it. Yes! They have earned it. When we do not understand how they have earned it, or if we choose to ignore how they have earned it, we are just being thankless and ungrateful. But is not that a well developed Human sense also? Pardon the flavor of my thoughts (it may be too chilly for some, or bitter, or astringent), but I ask you, when are we Humans going to recognize that animals are our relatives? Have not we understood evolution enough?
Are we going to be sensitive? Because being sensible ain't enough.