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Shark 6th Sense Related to Human Evolution?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the really-suave-looking-sharks dept.

Science 308

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at the University of Florida are claiming that certain genes found in sharks that give them their 'sixth sense' and allow them to detect electrical signals could also be responsible for the development of the head and facial features in humans. From the article: 'The researchers examined embryos of the lesser spotted catshark. Using molecular tests, they found two independent genetic markers of neural crest cells in the sharks' electroreceptors. Neural crest cells are embryonic cells that pinch off early in development to form a variety of structures. In humans, these cells contribute to the formation of facial bones and teeth, among other things.'"

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308 comments

And in related news... (-1, Flamebait)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669046)

It turns out that 60, not 49 angels can fit on the head of a pin. Seriously, how is this science? I thought science was about making falsifiable predictions, not figuring out what happened in the past.

I don't get it. (1)

Doom bucket (888726) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669059)

Is it implying that we desended from a common ancestor or that we descended from sharks with this ability?

Re:I don't get it. (-1)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669288)

Is it implying that we desended from a common ancestor or that we descended from sharks with this ability?


No, that is the author's bias implying that. The science merely shows us that there are some fantastic properties in these particular genes that found their way into sharks and humans. I don't understand why the evolutionists always use new, would-be completely neutral discoveries to try and push their agenda. This has absolutely nothing to do with evolution, and the same story could be published in a conservative newspaper under the heading, "Did God Use Some of the Same Ideas in Sharks and Humans?" My point isn't to try and start a flame war, just simply that it's poor journalism to take something completely irrelevant to origin of life and try to use it as a platform to advance your particular agenda. It makes for bad science.

Re:I don't get it. (5, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669328)

I don't understand why the evolutionists always use new, would-be completely neutral discoveries to try and push their agenda.

"Evolutionists" don't have an agenda, unless you count science as an "agenda." We don't consider science to be subject to public policy, and as such, laymen don't get a vote.

This has absolutely nothing to do with evolution

If you believe in the general concept of "science" it absolutely does.

My point isn't to try and start a flame war, just simply that it's poor journalism to take something completely irrelevant to origin of life

Read the damned article. They're talking about the same stem cells in the embryo developing into electrosensors in sharks and ears in humans. That absolutely has everything to do with embryonic development which is known to mirror vertebrate evolution, at least to those who follow science.

It makes for bad science.

Are you a scientist? Because among actual scientists, evolution is as much an established fact as gravity. Don't fall off the edge of the flat earth on your way out the door.

Re:I don't get it. (-1, Flamebait)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669531)

Because among actual scientists, evolution is as much an established fact as gravity.

Is that what they tell you to say? Seems strange, then that many prominent scientists, such as Behe, professor of microbiology at Lehigh and author of many books such as "Darwin's Black Box", would believe in creation then. It also seems weird that it's the "law of gravy" and the "theory of evolution" yet both are treated as fact. There are many in the so-called scientific field who are creationists, and it's just plain ignorance to suggest otherwise. But thanks for illustrating my point about bias - you clearly represent the majority of your intellectual class.

We don't consider science to be subject to public policy, and as such, laymen don't get a vote.

And I must congratulate you on reinventing congressional redistricting. If you define your own lines so that you exclude any scientists who happen to also be creationists, then you've created yourself a little nutshell in a vacuum. That sure sounds scientific and respectable. After all, it's much easier to practice bad science if anyone who asks you to come up with a morsel of proof is quickly dismissed as a lay person. And your nice little trust-based system which lacks verification is very useful in ever having to be exposed as being a bad scientist. Even in my field of science (computer science), I've read many poor excuses for papers with very little if any merit which have been passed off as "science". Dumb idea built upon dumb idea, and eventually you can form some kind of theory that explains the bumbling stupidity going on in the scientific field. MUCH easier than actually forming credible theories and backing them up with fact.

Re:I don't get it. (0, Flamebait)

Jackmn (895532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669715)

Seems strange, then that many prominent scientists, such as Behe, professor of microbiology at Lehigh and author of many books such as "Darwin's Black Box", would believe in creation then.
Self-delusion is widespread and intelligence isn't always a surefire defense.

Christian creationism - the attribution of the creation of the universe to a benevolent creator - is rediculous.

Assuming the idea that an intelligent creator is reasonable in itself, arbitrarily attributing purely human emotions and attributes to it such as benevolence, anger, love, etc is just that - arbitrary.
law of gravy
Please research scientific nomenclature before trying to use it in an argument.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Interesting)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669600)

"Evolutionists" don't have an agenda, unless you count science as an "agenda."

I'm going to have to disagree slightly here. There are evolutionists, and they do have an agenda. There are also scientists, most of whom believe in evolution. I think the line can be drawn when people make statements as facts, like in GP pointed out that the author of the summary did, instead of stating the simplest hypotheses which has not been disproved by any observational evidence. Since we use these same mechanics for drastically different purposes might it not be a better hypotheses that different species use the same mechanisms due to the unique properties rather than assume a shared ancestor?

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669336)

Do you even know what evolution is?

Re:I don't get it. (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669316)

Is it implying that we desended from a common ancestor or that we descended from sharks with this ability?

Yes, the single-cell southeastern australian wombat.

I don't think that's very plausible. After all, humans claim to have ESP and what's that supposed to be? Detection of electrical impulses from just into the future?

'sixth sense' and allow them to detect electrical signals could also be responsible for the development of the head and facial features in humans.

Actually, I saw Sixth Sense and what it really allows sharks to do is see the ghosts of dead sea-life which lead them to the carcasses. Shit, I thought everyone already knew that.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Funny)

knapper_tech (813569) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669416)

It implies that millions of years ago, intelligent sharks decided to break their ocean bondages by entrusting man with a gene that would determine our facial features and give them an avenue to bombard us with subliminal pop-up ads that will someday drive us to take to the stars; among the species we will take with us to our new home: sharks. This theory fully correlates with evidence that mankind has evolved into a society that craves iPods, has basic knowledge of celebrities, and possesses an insatiable desire to squash the cockroach/bomb Sadaam/catch Santa/raid the cookie factory.

Re:I don't get it. (4, Interesting)

InternationalCow (681980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669548)

It just implies that sharks and us, remotely related as we are, use a common toolkit to specify seemingly different kinds of things, such as electroreceptors and neural crest cells in humans. The former may be neural crest derived. So are many receptors in our skin. It does not mean that we are descended from sharks in any way. We are related, as all life is. Nature abounds with examples where very remotely related genera will use very similar genes to specify tissues with similar functions but very dissimilar compositions. The same gene that specifies eyes in the fruit fly for instance specifies eyes in us humans. Yet our eyes are not like those of a fly at all. The gene says "Make an eye here". The same will apply to electroreceptors in sharks and neural crest derivatives in humans. One of the genes might say "migrate here and make this receptor", regardless of the identity of the receptor. A gene is a tool, like a hammer. It is not the blueprint.

Re:I don't get it. (1, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669638)

Clearly this ability stems from a global oil shortage and an oppressed Tibet. Once the sharks are touched by His Noodly Appendage, things will be put right.

News flash: orthologous structures... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669060)

...do different things in different organisms. This is not news. It is a study of cellular fate in two different biological contexts of distantly related organisms.

Re:News flash: orthologous structures... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669447)

...do different things in different organisms. This is not news. It is a study of cellular fate in two different biological contexts of distantly related organisms.

Oh, piss off. With that attitude there's no point in doing science at all. It's news to discover the genes and the mechanism and also to find out what structure it was that developed into the organ in question.

Re:News flash: orthologous structures... (-1, Troll)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669659)

What is with these haters who always go "this is not news, move along"?

Remind me again who cares if you think it's news? I think it's interesting.

In your defense, you aren't as vicious as some posters. But still, come on. It's not even funny like some of the other things that get repeated for EVERY ARTICLE EVER POSTED.

I, for one, welcome our new shark overlords.

In Soviet Russia, shark evolves you!

How many senses do we have? (2, Insightful)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669079)

It seems we get a new "sixth sense" every few months. Perhaps it's time to review the whole "five senses" thing so that people stop using "sixth sense" as if it's something special or supernatural?

Re:How many senses do we have? (5, Informative)

Peter Mork (951443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669137)

Let's see, humans have: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, pressure, deep pain, surface pain, referred pain, hot, cold, static equilibrium, and dynamic equilibrium. Some might even throw in thirst and hunger.

Re:How many senses do we have? (4, Funny)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669189)

I can't believe a slashdot poster didn't include spidey in the list.

Re:How many senses do we have? (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669283)

I'd throw in metabolic time at the least. We also have some sense of where all the different parts of us are, though that one may be a derived sense. (From touch, pressure, equilibrium, and memory of our muscle responses.)

Re:How many senses do we have? (3, Informative)

VE3MTM (635378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669437)

Pretty much, yeah. I think this whole "people have five senses" thing is silly. We really have nine: sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, heat, pain, balance, and body awareness (or proprioception, my favourite).

Proprioception is my favourite because of all the fun tricks you can play on it. If you close your eyes and I were to move your arm to some position, this is the sense that you use when you tell me what that position is. Also, there's the well-known trick where you stand in a doorway and press your arms against the side for a minute or so, then your arms feel "light" for a while. That works because you confuse this sense.

There's a similar one where you lie face-down on the ground, and someone lifts your arms off the ground and hold them there for a minute or so. When they release your arms, it feels like your arms go through the ground. It's a bizarre feeling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense [wikipedia.org]

Re:How many senses do we have? (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669568)

"Also, there's the well-known trick where you stand in a doorway and press your arms against the side for a minute or so, then your arms feel "light" for a while. That works because you confuse this sense."

I thought this was because you were wearing out one set of muscles that keeps a tension balance in the arms. So, without one set pulling as hard, the other set it still pulling, and your arms feel light.

Re:How many senses do we have? (5, Insightful)

pomakis (323200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669253)

It seems we get a new "sixth sense" every few months. Perhaps it's time to review the whole "five senses" thing so that people stop using "sixth sense" as if it's something special or supernatural?

The five senses that humans have are classified as such because they are five distinct ways that we can sense our environment and surroundings. (Some even argue that smell and taste are the same sense because they're both a chemical composition sense.) The ability to sense electrical signals is in every way, shape and form a distinct sense from the five that humans have.

The universe allows only so many senses, because there are only so many ways that one object can make itself "known" to another object (which is exactly what senses are about). Think about it... there's radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum (sight), compression waves (sound), chemical traces (smell and taste), and actual contact (touch). But nature has a few other communication tricks up its sleeve, and electical signals is one of them. The fact that humans can't sense them doesn't mean that it's supernatural.

Re:How many senses do we have? (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669299)

You seem to be talking in very absolute terms...

Re:How many senses do we have? (2, Interesting)

Kesh (65890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669488)

Scientifically speaking, he's right. We detect one thing when something else hits our bodies. Whether it's a chemical (as in taste), a photon (for sight), or a physical object (for touch), something has to hit us for us to know it's there.

And there's only so many things that can do that. Electromagnetic fields are one thing that hit us daily and we really don't even know it*, but sharks apparently can. No matter what, there has to be some sort of particle or wave there to actually hit us before we can sense it.

* EM is caused by the movement of electrons. The one exception to us being unable to feel it is lightning. And I really don't think it matters at that point, do you? ;)

Re:How many senses do we have? (2, Informative)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669275)

Erm, this is one sharks have and we don't - they can sense electrical activity in the water. It is one of only six senses we currently count sharks as having, and the other five are identical to human ones.

Re:How many senses do we have? (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669368)

Before you say things like that again, perhaps you might want to review your idea that your layman's simplified idea of biology isn't quite as complete as you might think, and that maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't suggest that biologists review their ideas when you have no idea at all.

Btw, we have dozens of senses, not 5. You need to very strictly define what a sense is if you want to count them.

Re:How many senses do we have? (0)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669502)

Of course I know that we have more than 5 senses, that was my whole point. What did you think I meant? I wasn't suggesting anything to biologists either, just anyone who uses the term "Sixth Sense". Maybe, just maybe, you should re-read my comment or explain to us what you are talking about?

other electrical benefits of teeth (2, Funny)

i621148 (728860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669092)

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20060104/n ews_1c04narwhal.html [signonsandiego.com]

maybe our teeth can pick up radio stations someday :)

Re:other electrical benefits of teeth (1)

ArtfulDodger75 (943980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669119)

They can detect ion-charged emissions and operate as synthetic beam locators at a distance of up to twenty thousand light years. They're also extremely firm.

Definition of Science (-1, Offtopic)

Peter Mork (951443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669093)

I disagree that science is restricted to that which can be demonstrated using the scientific method. Humans have been engaging in scientific inquiries for millenia, yet the scientific method is a recent invention. The scientific method facilitates the acquisition of scientific knowledge, but it is not the only possibility. There are times when performing a scientific experiment is impossible or immoral. In these cases, we can still make observations and construct models, even though we cannot directly test those models.

Re:Definition of Science (4, Insightful)

49152 (690909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669232)

The scientific method is pretty much the definition of how you aquire science (systematic knowledge). To agree or disagree with a definition does not make much sense.

However even if a model or theory cannot be scientificly proven or disproven it might be of use anyway, for example: mathematics is in fact not a science since it is derived from axioms (fundamental concepts *belived* to be true). Even so, no scientist would deny the usefulness of mathematics ;-)

Re:Definition of Science (1)

Peter Mork (951443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669399)

By this argument, no science was practiced until the invention of the scientific method (during the Renaissance). This definition is overly narrow. Perhaps it would be better to refer to the scientific method as the experimentally falsifiable method (of acquiring scientific knowledge) to help disentangle science from the methodology.

Re:Definition of Science (1)

49152 (690909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669555)

Why would this be better? It would not be science and the only thing you would gain would be to make it easier for religious constructs like creationism/intelligent-design to pretend beeing science.

When you say this argument means no science was practiced until the renaissance, perhaps this is true? ;-) After all, look at the explosion in science and technology that took place from then and until now. Surely you dont think the old way was better?

Re:Definition of Science (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669240)

The scientific method has the fatal flaw of being limited to collecting information based on the questions you ask and methodology you use. I found this to be a very true statement made by one of my science teachers in explaining the scientific method. Immoral testing is a good example of something that limits or clouds our understanding. I remember some tests done in the 90's that did nothing more than confirm findings from the 40's. The difference was that in the 40's, the Nazis tested on humans in immoral ways and people were afraid to use that information based on the source.

Re: Definition of Science (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669311)

> I disagree that science is restricted to that which can be demonstrated using the scientific method. Humans have been engaging in scientific inquiries for millenia, yet the scientific method is a recent invention.

Arguably we have been using the scientific method for millenia as well. It's just a formulation of "guess the cause and then check to see if you were right" - exactly what you do when your computer starts making noise or your car won't crank.

BTW... (4, Informative)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669487)

> I disagree that science is restricted to that which can be demonstrated using the scientific method. Humans have been engaging in scientific inquiries for millenia, yet the scientific method is a recent invention. The scientific method facilitates the acquisition of scientific knowledge, but it is not the only possibility. There are times when performing a scientific experiment is impossible or immoral. In these cases, we can still make observations and construct models, even though we cannot directly test those models.

It sounds like you're saying that "the scientific method" = "laboratory experimentation". If so, that's not correct. Astronomy, for example, uses the scientific method.

Also, "directly test" is a pretty slippery concept. Arguably nothing is direct, e.g. when we weigh a compound we are getting its weight indirectly (through whatever mechanism the scale uses), and we only see the output via the photons that our retina catches.

Whoa... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669095)

George C. Deutsch just got fired and you can't wait a single article before you talk about evolution again?

About time that GWB appoints some Slashdot editors...

No mammals? (5, Informative)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669104)

As they evolved, mammals, reptiles, birds and most fish lost the ability. Today, only sharks and a few other marine species, such as sturgeons and lampreys, can sense electricity.

The platypus [wikipedia.org] begs to differ...

Re:No mammals? (5, Informative)

morgdx (688154) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669183)

Not just the platypus either, but other monotremes (literaly, one hole, I'll leave you to imagine the details) including the Echidna are strongly suspected of having electrosenory receptors.

A bit more info http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd= Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=9720114&dopt=Abstract [nih.gov] and here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotreme [wikipedia.org].

Maybe this is something else left behind in monotremes from an early link with sharks alongside laying eggs and looking ridiculous out of water.

Re:No mammals? (1, Funny)

Heem (448667) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669200)

go grab the wires coming out of that socket on the wall over there and tell me you can't sense electricity.

No Magic, No Need to Sense Electricity (1, Funny)

Dareth (47614) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669334)

Back when there was magic on the Earth, and magicians thru lightning bolts around with abandon... especially this Zeus fellow... it was beneficial to be able to sense electricity.

Now, only a few people such as electricians would benefit, so no reason for mammals to sense electricity.

Besides, I like a good shock every now and then. Keeps ya on your toes.

You mispelled... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669131)

The researchers examined embryos of the lesser spotted catshark.

You misspelled laser.

People have 6th sense, too (4, Interesting)

art6217 (757847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669157)

Have you ever, while having your eyes closed, felt the position of a pointy object several contimeters distant from you face, especially from your forearm? I did and many people know that feeling. I have no idea whether this is an electrostatic field or what, or if it has anything common with... sharks, but it is probably quite a common phenomenon. I do not really know why I have not seen it described anywhere in the literature.

I confused FOREARM w/FOREHEAD (1)

art6217 (757847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669192)

sorry, i have mistaken these two words

Re:I confused FOREARM w/FOREHEAD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669706)

You fail anatomy class! F!

Re:People have 6th sense, too (1)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669210)

I've noticed the same. Right over the ridge of my nose. I can tell if someone holds their finger close--but not touching, even with my eyes closed. I've tried the same with others, and they can feel it too. The sensation is almost like a tickle.

Re:People have 6th sense, too (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669260)

Five senses is a bit outdated, but generally they are only refrenced as the five primarily, hmm... senseable? Senses. 6th Sense is generally one that seems to be harder for the individual to recognise possibly due to a lack of control over them.

As for the pointy object, I know what your talking about. I think it maybe possible that a number of sense may be overreacting in conjunction with your proprioception to alert you that some unknown entity is being detected faintly resulting in that vaguly unsettling "tele-tactile" sense of the object as "pointy."

Re:People have 6th sense, too (4, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669315)

Having done this, there are a few different things that can cause this. Usually, you can feal the radiated heat coming off the person that is near you. Other than that, there is also the air movements that your skin is picking up. This has been done as a scientific experiment before, chalenging blindfolded people to stop as close as they can before walking into a wall. Next time you try this, try wearing a bandana. It confuses the skin sensors and you won't be able to do this.

Re:People have 6th sense, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669419)

Yeah I was finding the words, I was going to post a similar thing but I thought it would seem like a total crank thing to say. I worked quite a bit with high voltage stuff and I regularly noticed an itchy tickly sensation in my nose near high field strengths. In fact it's saved me from a nasty jolt or two. I thought for ages it was probably the little hairs
standing up in the field, but then I noticed - I don't have any hairs on my nose, not even little ones. So... I'm talking about being able to sense high voltage fields somehow, is that what you mean? Alaso I saw a thing about how birds - decended from dinosaurs have a magnetic sixth sense in their beaks. It makes you wonder. I think the old saying "follow your nose" relates to that 'innate' navigational ability.

Re:People have 6th sense, too (3, Insightful)

patniemeyer (444913) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669501)

Remember that you (as a mammal) are covered in tiny hairs. I think you "feel" electrostatic charges because these hairs stand on end.

Re:People have 6th sense, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669558)

In a somewhat related vein... Does anybody else sense when another person is in the room?

It seems similar to the buzz that you 'hear' when a TV is on with the volume turned down but it's not exactly a sound either.

I can be sitting in a chair in the living room with the diswasher running in the adjoining kitchen throwing out plenty of masking noise but if anybody comes within 20 ft or so, I know they're there.

I always figured it had to have something to do with electromagnetic fields being generated by the nervous system but I have an overactive imagination too. :)

That missing link... (3, Funny)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669165)



In a directly related story, scientists have found THE missing link between sharks and humans in a sub-species. They are calling it entrepreneurius-maximus.

Offer not valid in NY, Conn., CA, MA, etc.

From Sharks to Robot AI: Evo Recap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669181)

Evolution of AI Minds [sourceforge.net] proceeds by the same sort of recapitulation of evolution.

Robotic Sensorium Modules [visitware.com] allow for the robotic evolution of special senses as in this case of sharks, or the Japanese idea of umami as a "fifth taste" on the human tongue.

The Mentifex Theory of Mind [virtualentity.com] for artificial intelligence (AI) explains how even sharks, if left alone as the heretofore pinnacle of evolution on an Earthlike-planet, could evolve into intelligent beings and beyond.

Mentifex AI Mind Design [scn.org] explains the Central Nervous System (CNS) as it evolves in sharks, humans and superintelligent robots.

We already have six senses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669202)

It's called balance. The mechanisms and nerves are all seperate from the hearing part of the ear. Why is this not considered the sixth sense?

most fish can sense electricity (2, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669207)

Most fish have some electrical sense, though some may do it better than others. I'd guess this sense was re-invented many times.

Terrestial animals, including humans, can feel strong gradients in the air before thunderstorms.

hair standing on end, literally (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669449)

Terrestial animals, including humans, can feel strong gradients in the air before thunderstorms.

My personal experience with this is that a very strong field actually causes your fine hairs to react to the field pattern, and you actually feel it as mechanical stimulation of the follicles. No doubt a truly mammoth field gradient would tangibly impact your nervous system to the point of being directly aware of it in some way, but that "hair standing on end" effect is something you can actually see. I was once doing an emergency dish repair on the roof of a commercial structure as a front came through (brilliant!), and seconds before lightning hit a radio mast about 20 yards away, the guys working with me were all pointing at each other's hair... which was actually standing up. The heavy hair, on their heads. We all hit the dirt (well, the gravel, on the roof), and kablooie, right next to us. I will never forget that one. Um, or get on a roof in a thunderstorm again, no matter how much a customer tells me they'll lose important accounting data transfer opportunities if they can't get their dish re-aligned.

Humans already have a 6th, 7th, 8th senses. (3, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669214)

6th sense: Your "stuffy room" sensor for excess CO2. 7th sense: Infrared sensors around your lips: Close your eyes. Put your hand three inches from your face. Feel the heat around your lips? 8th sense: Your ears can correlate pressure changes to detect that you're between walls.

Re:Humans already have a 6th, 7th, 8th senses. (1)

infogrind (859439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669450)

Yes humans can detect infrared, but I would hardly call it a sixth sense. If the infrared level is strong enough, the skin gets heated up and the nerves feel the warmth.

And about the hand in front of the face, the heat transfer happens rahther through the molecules of the air than infrared, I suppose.

Re:Humans already have a 6th, 7th, 8th senses. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669503)

Potholers understand this. People who enjoy crawling through tiny underground caves in the dark. You know the size and dimentions of the space you are in to within a few centimeters, maybe bettr up very close. It's actually a faculty of hearing and your breath is the source that forms a white noise source and your brain does a deconvolution of the signal
to use the echos to tell you where the walls are, a bit like bats do, but not as good.

Re:Humans already have a 6th, 7th, 8th senses. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669528)

9th - Balance. 10th - Position of limbs and body (there's a technical term for this). Apparently there's about 12-20 depending on what you count as a sense and which ones you consider the same.

Lies! (-1, Troll)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669220)

Sez the conservative Christian Fundamentalist: "This is more evolution junk! Hah! First they claim we descended from monkeys and now they're saying we're related to sharks! I'm sure glad my bible tells the truth and I know the I'm a direct creation of God and all women are descended from my rib. Then I don't have to rely on the voodoo of scientific lies that try to obscure the word."

fuc4q! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669245)

become obseesed More stable

Sharks and Lawyers... (1, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669250)

So there's conclusive evidence that there's an evolutionary link between the development of sharks and lawyers? Or does Intelligent Design explain why some sharks have two legs? Inquiring minds want to know!

Remember,kiddies! (2, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669280)

"Human evolution" is just a theory.

If you don't believe me, ask the next A&M dropout you meet.

Land sharks (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669341)

The ability to sense electrical signals is useful in aquatic environments because water is so conductive. On land, however, the sense is useless.

Well, some people have the ability to sense electronic signals in their teeth fillings, which gives a whole new meaning to Bluetooth enabled.

I know how this ends ... (2, Funny)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669356)

found in sharks that give them their 'sixth sense'

The shark turns out in the end to be dead all along.

Neural crest cells (4, Interesting)

Graham Clark (11925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669363)

There's a saying in developmental biology circles that neural crest [wikipedia.org] cells are the only really interestng part of vertebrate embryology. They form (IIRC) the autonomic nervous system, endocrine glands and pigment-producing cells too, as well as the ganglion of the auditory nerve - which is why some animals show a link between colouration and deafness.

What if Humans and Sharks shared some ancestry? (-1, Offtopic)

palad1 (571416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669460)

Would that make lawyers humans then?

Slashdotter is confused...

no way!! (1)

slackaddict (950042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669499)

do you mean to tell me that these scientists found cells that are similar to cells found in other organisms, like humans?  wow!!  next they'll be telling us that you can group organisms together based on similar physical, structural or functional traits!

Darwin would shit himself... (1)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669516)

Um... I think I speak for all of the Department of Obvious Assholes when i say: Monkey -> Human makes sense. We look alot alike, and I bet many /.ers still drag their knuckles . Shark -> Human = rediculous. If we do share similar genes, they probably come from a mutual protozoa, making them our great great great .......... cousins.

Re:Darwin would shit himself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669629)

No one made the claim that we went directly from Sharks to Humans.

6th sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669549)

Look, this whole 5 senses thing goes back to Aristotle. He was just trying to find some order in a chaotic world.

So the dude was wrong. Give him a break, he's dead, ok?

Re:6th sense (4, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669721)

Look, this whole 5 senses thing goes back to Aristotle. He was just trying to find some order in a chaotic world. So the dude was wrong. Give him a break, he's dead, ok?

Yeah. He was wrong. That's OK. Trouble is, he was wrong about just about every single thing he tried, and then got cited as an unassailable authority by just about everyone in Europe for over a thousand years.

Sharks? (2, Funny)

tak amalak (55584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669619)

Now they's saying we evolved from sharks? What will those heathens say next?! Pfff, probably that we evolved from bacteria!

not much here (4, Informative)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669640)

If I were asked to guess what embryonic tissue shark's electroreceptors came from, my first guess would be neural crest. After all, this is the tissue that gives rise to electrically active tissues like nerve and muscle, which have receptors that do indeed "sense" electrical fields. This is not to allow the animal to sense electrical fields in its environment, but simply the way nerve conduction and muscle contraction work--a change in electrical field (typically produced by a chemically activated ion gate in a membrane) is "sensed" by a voltage-gated ion channel that responds by opening up additional channels, further altering the electric field, which stimulates other voltage-gated ion channels, and so forth. It is easy to see how such a process could be evolutionarily adapted for sensory purposes, just as fish that generate strong electric fields, such as Torpedo (the electric ray) do so with tissues that are evolutionarily derived from muscle.

So basically, all this is saying is that we and sharks have a common ancestor and as a result share similarities in the development of nervous tissue (which we knew already), and that sharks' electro receptors develop from the tissue that any biologist would identify as the "usual suspect."

The other way -- humans "feeling" a shark (4, Interesting)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669650)

This headline hit me the wrong way. On Saturday I take the kids on a week-long Hawaii trip, and we've been following a little series of white shark sightings near the islands. It seems like some of the big female whites are out there -- a shark tour guy got out and swam with a "sisterhood"-scale 20-footer whose girth was astonishing in the pictures.

Anyway, one of the hard-to-pin-down aspects of shark encounters is a "sense" people report having just before they become fully aware of a big shark's presence. This may just be memory colored by the adrenaline rush that came with the encounter -- but it's very commonly reported that, moments before the water starts boiling or whatever, the surfer gets a cold, "something isn't right here" feeling.

(Which would also be a touch of an evolutionary advantage for the person able to sense it, yeah?)

Dorsal Necksnap (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669682)

Is that how (human) drivers know I'm looking at them when I'm passing them in traffic, but before they're facing me, without using their mirrors?

The research assistant messed up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669684)

Sharks can sense electric signals? Are they sure they didn't observe wrong shark species [bbc.co.uk]?
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