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Lyndsey C's picture

If we had a 6th sense....

I really enjoyed our discussion on Tuesday about certain animals' ability to perceive certain sensory inputs that we as humans cannot pick up. I guess i never really thought about this concept or the implications it can have on different species. According to our discussion, special proteins produce permeability that enable senses to react to different stimuli such as x-rays, high frequency sounds, magnetic fields, etc. Not all animals possess receptors for each of the above stimuli, however. I find this very interesting because, as Jean stated above, there may be certain stimuli acting upon us at all times that we simply do not have the ability to perceive. But could we design some sort of mechanism to enable a person to acquire the permeability changes neccessary to process these foreign stimuli? For example, will we ever be able to sense magnetic fields? Why can other animals sense this, but not us? Do we lack this perception as a result of evolution (as in, did humans not need this sensory perception and therefore over time did we lose this ability? sort of like the wisdom teeth which havent served a purpose for hundreds of years?) And wait, does this mean at some point in the history of time humans DID possess a magnetic field perception? I doubt this, but its still very interesting to me to consider evolution and the different abilities humans may have had in the past as compared with the many adaptations we have acquired now that are so much more advanced than the first man.

Then I wonder also about Jean's question regarding a supernatural force. It would be interesting to talk with people who claim they can sense angels or ghosts in their homes. What is this sense that they possess which many of us do not? Is it even something worth studying? In other words, do these people possibly have a legitimate, probable sensory mechanism, or is it all just fluff?

So, i end this random post by asking you all: If you had the ability to perceieve just ONE additional sensory input, what would it be? Hmm...


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