We human beings roam across vales and hills, meadows and woods, and delight in the fragant carpet of flowers in their colorful magnificance, and in the chirping of crickets and the song of birds. Who would entertain the idea that our experience is only a tiny fraction of the real environment? The physicist has shown, however, that the electromagnetic spectrum extends from the long wavelengths of radio waves via infra-red and ultra-violet to the short wavelengths of x-rays and gamma rays. The human eye perceives the minute section from 400–800 nm -approxiametely a billionth part of the spectrum! We know today that in the field of ultrasound, there exists important information for other animals to which our ear is deaf. The biochemist has analyzed the structure of countless molecules to which many animals are attracted, or from which they shy away, but to which our nose is not sensitive in any way. It was a major achievement in this century when Karl von Frisch, the pioneer of modern sensory physiology and behavioral research, presented to us the means for the discovery of such unknown worlds. It is easier to understand the work of this dedicated biologist, if one looks into the initimate circumstances of his family life, where his love of nature was already fostered from an early age. Born in the Josephstadter Strasse, a corner protected from the metropolitan noise of Vienna, his room was already turned into a menagerie during his early grammar school days. His diary lists as companions: 9 different kinds of mammals, 16 species of birds, 26 different reptiles and amphibians, 27 kinds of fish, and 45 species of invertebrates. He later wrote, “I shall never forget my mother’s patient tolerance towards those sometimes obnoxious companions”.
KeywordsSensory Physiology Magnetic Compass Sugar Water Color Sense Honey Comb
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