Imagine for a minute that you, a human, could see in the Ultra-Violet spectrum, sense the chemical signals of pheromones, store energy from sunlight, or taste and smell with appendages other than a tongue. A rather alien experience it would be, but then that is exactly my point.
This little thought experiment is an excellent way to show and describe the senses and experiences of alien characters, or alien environments. And luckily, we don’t have to travel light years to get some interesting ideas. They’re right in our backyard.
Birds see in the UV spectrum, and even have polarized vision that aids in migration. Only few humans have actually been able to see in the UV spectrum, and it is largely due to eye damage. Occasionally, it happens to people who’ve undergone cataract surgery.
A good article on animal UV spectrum, and the functions it may serve.
Pheromones, at least in humans, seem a lot less noticeable than in other species, such as insects. An entire hive or colony is largely controlled by chemical signals. They also communicate a great deal of information through this method, which is probably why there never seems to be a work stoppage in said hive or colony. No unions there. Everyone works themselves until they die.
Luckily, us mammals have it a little easier. Our pheromones are more important when it comes to reproductive status, territorial marking, and sometimes mood.
Reptiles, and to a larger extent, plants, use sunlight to give them energy. A plant can create its own fuel within its own body using the energy from sunlight. Unless your sun was nearing its demise, you’d be set for life.
Reptiles are cold-blooded, therefore needing heat to warm their bodies to an optimum temperature so that they can not only digest their food, but also to fight disease. Instead of getting a fever like a mammal, they have to find just the right basking spot and sit for minutes to hours depending on how hot it is.
Tasting and smelling without the use of a tongue is actually done by many organisms. All manner of invertebrates usually achieve this with pairs of antennae. They are long and whip-like, and even short and stubby, and they are covered with millions of taste/scent receptors. Sometimes they also have bristly hairs growing on them to help catch the scent/taste.
Here’s an article discussing the nervous system an senses of the lobster.
In other news…
I need a new writing desk. I had actually bought a used roll-top desk maybe a year ago, but since then realized it needs refinishing. It’s also a bit too large, and very cramped in my apartment. To top that off, refinishing requires that you completely sand the entire thing down to the original wood, and then add a stain or varnish. I have no room to do that here, and I hear it costs quite a bit to pay for it to be done professionally. So, it’s being sold, and I’m still waiting to hear back on one possible offer.
Walmart actually has some nice compact desks that strike my fancy, and the prices aren’t bad either.
Lastly, I have created a sister blog for my artist side of things, where you will be able to see how I do my work and much more. I only have a short intro post so far, but more will be coming soon.
You can check it out at http://pencilsandclay.wordpress.com/
Okay, that’s it for today. Have a good weekend everyone! Thanks for reading.