Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, …and magnetoreception? While we are quite used to our five basic senses, there has always been a search for a sixth sense. Many have connected this sense to the ability to see the future, see distant objects, or read minds.
However, an American scientist has found something else. Magnetoreception, or the ability to sense and navigate through the invisible magnetic fields of our planet, is commonly present among different kinds of animals.
Birds use this kind of ability to travel south during wintertime; some species of mice and rats locate their nests along magnetic field lines; and dogs relieve themselves along a north-south axis.
Until now, no one has been aware that this kind of subconscious awareness of Earth’s magnetic fields exists in humans. However, Joe Kirschvink of the California Institute of Technology claims to have found this same ability in humans.
Although Kirshcvink’s study is only in its early stages, with a small sample and without any peer-reviews, his finds are extraordinary.
This possibility of magnetoreception in humans could help us understand the human evolution better, and perhaps we could learn how to consciously use this ability?
Using a Faraday cage, Kirschvink managed to isolate the participants from magnetic interferences that come from computers, mobiles, elevators, and other everyday objects. This interference may be the same which prevented previous studies from a relevant result.
While in the isolated magnetic field, the participants’ brainwave activity was constantly monitored, and Kirschvink rotated the magnetic field to see if there would be any changes in the brainwaves.
Whenever Kirschvink rotated the magnetic field counterclockwise (the same way the Earth’s magnetic field does), he noticed a sharp drop in the participants’ brainwaves. This drop suggests a natural response to the shifting magnetic field.
He notes that the brainwave drop occurred only when the magnetic field rotated counterclockwise, and not the other way around, which is a strong indicator that our brains might be subconsciously connected to Earth’s magnetic field.
While this ‘sixth sense’ has no vital implications on human survival nowadays, understanding its existence and its uses could lead to a better scientific understanding of ourselves.
Kirschvink compares this ability in humans to the wings of an ostrich – magnetoreception is a remnant of our evolutionary past. However, the very fact that our brainwaves are constantly responding to Earth’s magnetic field is fascinating.
Do you think you can sense where North is if you tried?
Source: Science Alert