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Posted by Biology Forums   August 8, 2022   2088 views

Do animals see the same way we do? Do some animals have better vision than humans? The senses of animals have evolved to give members of the species an optimum chance for survival. Here are a few examples:

Some animals, such as cats, have a reflective surface ( tapetum) on the back of the eye behind the sensory receptors (left image above). When light first enters the eye, some light is detected by the sensory receptors. The light not detected by the sensory receptors continues onto the reflective surface at the back of the eye. This light is then reflected outward toward the sensory receptors, providing a second opportunity for detection. This feature produces two results. First, the outward reflection results in the shining of the cat's eye when a light beam is shined into it. The second result is that the cat's night vision efficiency is doubled over that of animals with a nonreflective rear surface, such as humans.

Diurnal animals, such as fish and birds, have all or mostly cones on their retinas. Their superior color vision is a strong advantage during daylight, but they are nearly blind at night. Nocturnal animals, like rats and bats, have all or mostly rods on their retinas; therefore, they have no color vision, but they can see at night. The retinas of humans contain both rods and cones (right image above); therefore humans can see things at night and with color during the day.

Most herbivores and prey animals have their eyes placed far to the side of the head to give them a wide range of vision while carnivores, including humans, have their eyes closer together so the overlapping visual fields can provide good depth perception.

Eye Anatomy Comparison Animals Humans Rods Cones Cats Fish
Posted in Interesting Facts
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