Econintersect: Some call it ESP (extrasensory perception) and think of it as paranormal, encompassing experiences outside “the range of normal experience or scientific explanation” (Wikipedia). It may largely be considered as folklore, mythology and fantasy, but scientists have determined that a sixth sense is quite real. In the modern world creatures such as sharks, paddlefish and certain other aquatic vertebrates, as well as some types of salamanders, still have the ability to detect weak electromagnetic signals. Research published yesterday (October 11, 2011) in Nature Communications shows that the vast majority of modern vertebrates (including man) have an ancestor in common with the species that still retain the sixth sense.From Cornell University News:
— the vast majority of vertebrates — some 30,000 species of land animals (including humans) and a roughly equal number of ray-finned fishes — descended from a common ancestor that had a well-developed electroreceptive system.
This ancestor was probably a predatory marine fish with good eyesight, jaws and teeth and a lateral line system for detecting water movements, visible as a stripe along the flank of most fishes. It lived around 500 million years ago. The vast majority of the approximately 65,000 living vertebrate species are its descendants.
The newly published research has established that the various sixth sense species have common characteristics that prove they were developmental (from an original species) rather than evolutionary (created by reaction to environments). About 500 million years ago the sixth sense vertebrates and the rest of vertebrate species underwent an evolutionary split.
So, if ESP does actually exist for some people, could they have retained an ancient sixth sense gene?
Authors of the paper are: