When bats are talked about, their amazing location method (called echolocation) is often one of the first things mentioned about them. In fact, bats are praised for their amazing skill of echolocation. What is this “echolocation” and why is it “amazing”?
Well, echolocation is the process whereby an animal emits sound and then listens. The sound waves of the sound the animal made, reflects off whatever it hits and the waves travel back to the animal ears. The animal then must judge where the object is based off the sound waves’ sound. All very simple to do but complicated to figure out.
However, bats aren’t the only creatures that can do this. Some other kinds of fowl have the ability and even some whales. But, those creatures are not the ones that are most interesting. Do you know which object of God’s creation are the most unique with echolocation? You will never guess!
Yes, I said humans.
A couple of years back I was reading a fictional book about some person figuring out echolocation and I became interested in it. But, back then I didn’t have the resources I have now. So, my curiosity was basically soothed by asking people about it. I got mainly, “I’m not sure, I doubt it.”
But, just a week ago I finally had the opportunity to look into it deeper and I’m still stunned with what I found. So stunned in fact, that I was ate up into the night reading and, the next day, I thought all the info I learned had simply been a dream. It wasn’t. I’m still shocked at what I’ve learned.
Well, on that night I learned that blind humans have been using echolocation for the last few decades. Although the practice is not widespread, the effect is amazing. The best and most famous example would be Ben Underwood who had been blind since very early childhood. Ben would play games, climb trees, ride bike, skate and just about anything else not to long after he became blind.
This astonished doctors. How could this boy see when he was completely blind? This genius of a boy used echolocation to guide himself.
In fact, the boy was so good that his child eye doctor said he was the best human echolocator there ever was. Truly this boy had skills. Unfortunately, Ben died in the beginning of 2009. His mother said this about him though, and it gives me some comfort for this unique kid:
Our Beloved Ben went to be with His savior, Jesus Christ, the morning of January 19th, 2009.
The boy was just 16 and died from the very same cancer that took his eyesight some 14 years prior. However, his influence in the world of echolocation still lives on and the new leading expert in the area, Tim Johnson (although he isn’t blind he is an expert on this skill), claims Ben Underwood as his initial inspiration. Nowadays, Tim Johnson teaches echolocation to the blind.
Because I want you to discover what I discovered, I am going to link you to Tim Johnson’s site. Now, I am not responsible for any of his articles, comments or views expressed there in any way. But, as a quick note, I haven’t seen any ads on his site and it looks fine.
This world of echolocation is definitely something that has me interested and you can be sure to hear (get it? I know, I know, I’m hilarious) more about it once I, hopefully, master the skill.
But . . . think about this for a minute. We have a God that loves and cares for us so much that He would allow us to “see” with our ears. How blessed are we to have such a perfect Creator!