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Friday, February 21, 2014

Cats and Dogs Can See into the Ultraviolet Spectrum

File:Amber eye1.jpg
(Source: Wikimedia)

... according to this article from the Daily Mail.
To explore which animals possess the capability to see ultraviolet light, the researchers obtained eyes from a wide array of mammals that had died in zoos, vets, science labs or slaughterhouses. 
They measured how much light got through each animal’s eye to the retina. 
Scientists found that many of the animals, including cats, dogs, hedgehogs, ferrets and okapi, have lenses that let some ultraviolet light though, suggesting that they can see well in the dark.
Scientists already know that bees and other insects use their UV vision to see colours and patterns on plants, while rodents use it to follow trails of urine, but they are not sure what pets use it for. 
‘The question is only being asked because humans can't see it,’ Dr Douglas said.

... Other scientists think that the UV filter in the human eye means that we can see more accurately than without it. They found that animals that also block this part of the spectrum have the highest resolution vision. 
Humans can see in such detail because we have dense colour-sensitive cells (cones) in the retina that create detailed images in low levels of light, but nocturnal creatures have eyes that let in as much light a possible, including UV, but do not enjoy the same level of detail.

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