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Jackie Marano's picture

Let the bees buzz!

The idea that many forms of radiation (UV radiation, IR radiation, microwaves, X-rays, gamma rays, etc.) are not sensed by human sensory receptors but that they are likely sensed by other organisms was a familiar concept to me...but in the context of this class, I have come to think of this concept in a different way:

We concluded in the previous forum and also in class that a human could NOT know what it is like to be a bat, and that a bat could NOT know what it is like to be a human because of subjectivity. Additionally, we concluded that asking a dyslexic person "What is it like to be dyslexic?" is really no different than if a dyslexic person asked, "What is it like to NOT be dyslexic?" because of the subjective nature of these questions.

With the idea of subjectivity in mind, I decided to do some research on sensory reception in BEES (this was briefly mentioned in class), and to learn about what they are able to sense that we humans cannot. Below, I have pasted a link to a very informative page about sensory reception in bees. You don't have to read it too closely...but, in the context of our recent class discussions, see if a quick glance sparks the same questions for you as it did for me: How do we know what bees can or cannot perceive if we are NOT bees? Where are we getting these observations...from which we are making summaries?

While this site seems trusty (govt. of Arizona), sophisticated, and scientific...how seriously can we really take this information? Is this not just a summary of HUMAN observations? I think if bumble bees designed this webpage, we would have a trusty summary of observations. But until they gain this ability...how could we ever really know what they perceive?

http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/ic/vision/bee-vision.html

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