Somebody asked how many different senses are now known to exist, having seen a vague remark on Wikipedia about how it used to be said that humans had five senses but "science had now discovered that there were more than that".

How many senses do humans have?

Would a brief explanation of why it doesn't work like that and they can't really be classified neatly enough to count them, with some description of what senses there are and how they sometimes merge into each other (for instance, what's usually referred to as "taste" is partly the same as "smell" and partly not, whereas "touch" is a lot of things (heat, vibration, pressure) which are actually separate systems), be a valid answer by the Biology.SE rules? I think I could manage that myself, if nobody else wants to.

(Not sure if I've got the tags right, feel free to fix.)


1 Answer 1


In general across SE we call these "frame challenge" answers.

Often these are very well-received and can be very useful to askers in redirecting their thinking. I think this one might be a candidate for that.

Other times, people react poorly to frame challenges, which seems to me to happen especially when voters feel the original question should have been closed, in particular for lack of prior research. Can't make promises about others liking your answer.

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    $\begingroup$ "Frame challenge" are technically allowed, though? Good! That's what I wanted to know - I can't actually even find the Biology.SE rules, if there are any. As for the votes, just have to see what happens. :-) $\endgroup$
    – A. B.
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ @A.B. In general it's okay on SE (see meta.stackexchange.com/q/263661/401068 ) though some individual sites have policies against it. I don't believe Biology.SE has addressed it specifically on meta. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ @A.B. I gave the question a try. It's such an elementary question, one that most people have had in their life, I know I did many decades ago. I think it's just a matter of making a few concrete examples for the layman from a biologist's point of view. I do think though that this is something you should be expected to just literally type into a search engine... but I also found that plenty of web pages don't provide enticing examples that would be obvious to a biologist worth their salt. Oh well! $\endgroup$
    – S Pr
    Commented May 18, 2021 at 10:51
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks very much! I agree with you. "This should be easy to find the answer to on the Internet" doesn't always mean that, in fact, it is, and if it isn't, it's a good question that does deserve an answer. And you answered it better than I was going to. $\endgroup$
    – A. B.
    Commented May 19, 2021 at 3:41

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