How Many Senses Does a Human Have?
If someone was to ask you how many senses does a human have, the chances are you would answer five. The truth is though that humans have at least nine senses.
We all know about the five common senses - touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste - but did you know that the very first person to list those humans senses was Aristotle. He certainly was a very clever man and many years ahead of his time but he did get many things wrong. Aristotle claimed that humans thought with their hearts, that flies only had our legs and that bees were created from the rotting carcasses of bulls; he may have been way off the mark with those ones but when it comes to the five senses he was spot on. The only problem is, it has now been commonly agreed that humans have at least four more senses;
Proprioception: The unconscious knowledge and awareness of where our body parts are without actually viewing them. Confused? Close your eyes and wave your hand about and you will still know where it is in relation to the rest of you. Proprioception in action!
Thermoception: Simply the sense of heat, or lack of heat, on our skin.
Nociception: The perception of pain from different parts of the body (skin, joints and body organs). Surprisingly, this does not include pain from the brain, simply because the brain does not have any pain receptors at all.
Equilibrioception: The sense of balance - which the fluid-containing cavities in the inner ear determine.
Many neurologists have their own ideas and opinion as to how many senses a human has. Some even argue that humans have as many as twenty-one different senses. These would include sense of thirst, sense of hunger, sense of depth, sense of meaning and even sense of language. It goes much deeper than that, some claim. What about the sense of danger (when hairs on the back of the neck stand up)? What about the sense of electricity? It would appear that there is not a general consensus of what should and shouldn't be included as being a human sense these days, perhaps in the future neurologists will agree.
One thing they can agree on though is the fact that some animals have senses that humans definetly do not have. Some fish use echolocation to sense pressure; sharks use electroception to sense electric fields; some birds and insects use magnetoception to detect magnetic fields, which helps with their navigation; both owls and deers use 'infra-red' vision to help them hunt or feed at night. Imagine what it would be like if it was found that humans also had such senses.