Surprising Facts About the Five Senses

By Tamara Keeney, EarQ, Guest Blogger

I used to think I knew a lot about the five senses. When I’m writing, I often use a person’s senses and incorporate different hypothetical situations to connect with a reader. After all, isn’t that something that everyone has in common? After doing some research on how the sense of hearing actually works, I realized that I didn’t really know much outside of my own perception. My technical knowledge was certainly lacking, so I decided that a blog post on surprising facts about the five senses would be a fun way to share what I had learned. Here are some of the “sensible facts” that I learned:

  • Do you remember all those times the doctor told you not to use cotton swabs to clean earwax from your ear canals? Not only is there a danger of puncturing the eardrum, but there are cilia in the canal that push earwax out naturally, so there’s no need to use cotton swabs!

  • People have admired the ear for centuries; ear piercing is one of the earliest known forms of body modification.

  • The only senses that are types of mechanosensation are hearing and touch.

  • The catfish has somewhere around 100,000 taste buds.

  • Grizzly bears are able to smell food from a whopping 18 miles away!

  • The purpose of whiskers is still being researched and discovered, but among the known purposes are water current detection and texture discrimination.

  • On average, by the time a person reaches age 20, half of his or her taste receptors are gone.

Our senses allow us to experience the world around us and understand it in ways that let us interact uniquely with people, nature, and ourselves. There are so many different ways that humans and animals use their senses. It truly helps me to appreciate what my senses provide for me.

The original full list of surprising facts about the senses can be found here.

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