The five senses we’re all familiar with are sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. But is that all? Surely 200,000 years of evolution could’ve done better than that. And it did. Let’s break it down.
What’s a “sense“? A perception or a feeling that your body feels and is aware of because of an external stimulus. In other words, you eat a sugar cube and your tongue gets a ‘sensation’ of sweetness, which is called taste. If I hold your hand you’ll know I am because you can ‘feel’ my skin against yours, aka touch.
That explains sight, smell and hearing too. But what about the ‘feeling’ or ‘sensation’ you get when you’ve been walking for an hour on a hot sunny day? Thirst. It fits into the definition perfectly. So does the feeling of knowing that the flame of a candle is hot, or snow is cold without touching it aka Thermoception. This is just the start. Humans have more than a dozen senses!
When somebody pinches you, nociception or pain. When you’ve been sitting for hours without a bite, hunger. Even the itch that you get. All senses.
A more interesting one is Equilibrioception, the sense of balance, it’s why you can stand up right and walk without falling over, the sense that you kind of lose when you’ve had a little too much alcohol. Or when you throw up the little too much alcohol, Chemoreceptor Trigger Zone, another sense. Chronoception is a sense that is still not clearly understood, the perception or our knowing of the passage of time, which is a relative sense, like sitting in a boring lecture that seems to last for eternity or a long conversation on the phone that felt like 5 mins but turned out to be half an hour.
My favorite is the sense Proprioception. Close your eyes and touch your nose, then your bellybutton. You can right? Since your eyes were closed, how did you know where your nose or bellybutton was without seeing them? This sense and awareness of where your body parts are is called Proprioception.
When you’re inebriated(drunk), your senses go down a notch and tasks like touching your nose or walking in a straight line become harder to perform. Tests like these are exactly what the police use to check your level of intoxication. Now you know what they mean when they say “are you in your senses?”
So yes, we have more than 5 senses.
Any other topic you’d like to discuss? Ask it in the comments:)
Your Science Owl Sources: Wikipedia ttp://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/07/humans-have-a-lot-more-than-five-senses/ http://listverse.com/2013/04/30/10-lesser-known-but-important-human-senses/