Seeing Electricity, Hearing Magnetism & Other Sensory Feats – Facts So Romantic

For elephants, feet are sensory organs.Martin Harvey, Getty Images

It’s pretty obvious that dogs have sharper ears and cats a keener sense of smell than we do. But as powerful these senses are, they are merely keener versions of the ones we humans possess. The animal kingdom also boast some senses that are arguably more impressive—senses that are far more exotic than our pets’, and that seem unfathomable to the human brain. From electric fields to infrared radiation, here are some of the most bizarre ways animals perceive our world.

Elephants communicate seismically

With their great, big ears, it’s no surprise that elephants have an especially keen sense of hearing. What’s less expected is that some of their sonic communication goes not through the air but through the ground. Elephants can make very low-frequency vocalizations—too low for the human ear to catch—that vibrate through soil for miles. In one experiment, Stanford biologist Caitlin O’Connell-Rodwell transmitted recorded “danger” calls through the ground to a group of elephants, who immediately starting acting nervously. But they didn’t react to gibberish ground rumblings that she produced. The physical structure of an elephant’s foot, such as thick…
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