Less technologically, in the process of writing that super senses talk, I found out about a sense called electroception. I know some fish have this—it’s the ability to sense electromagnetic fields, just like the magnetic fingertips.

But what I didn’t know is that duck-billed platypuses have electroception. They use special cells in their bills to sense fluctuations in the electric field, caused by the moving muscles of other animals. It means they can effectively see in murky water, which is where they live, and it’s why their bills are so wide – just like owls need wide eyes – and why they swim moving their head from side to side, to get a 3d electric picture.

How cool is that? Why didn’t I learn this at school?

Matt Webb, S&W, posted 2006-07-14 (talk on 2006-07-13)