Humans With Amazing Senses

"I have mental images that are very rich, very complex. They simply do not possess the visual element," Kish says.

In retrieving those pictures, Kish varies the pace and volume of his clicks as he walks along; and what he can tell you about an object's qualities is sometimes astonishingly thorough.

If bats can distinguish prey as small as mosquitoes with echolocation, and some dolphins can detect small targets a hundred yards away, what are the ultimate capabilities of human beings like Ben and Kish?

Peter Scheifele, who studies hearing and sound production in animals and people at the University of Connecticut, analyzed samples of the clicks that Ben and Kish make.

"Ben clicks, looks to me like once every half second, whereas a dolphin is actually making 900 clicks per second. And the bat is even faster than that," Scheifele says.

The bottom line: Human beings send out sounds at much slower rates and lower frequencies, so the objects people can picture with echolocation must be much larger than the ones bats and dolphins can find.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 2283048.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...