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The camera system shows how animals see colors

The camera system shows how animals see colors

How animals see colors is an interesting mystery. After all: Can dogs see like humans? What colors can birds see? These questions can finally be answered by scientists from the University of Sussex (UK) and George Mason University (USA), who have developed a camera system capable of accurately reproducing the colors perceived by different species. More details are provided in PLoS Biology On the 23rd.

The secret of the difference between human and animal vision lies in the ability of the photoreceptors in the eye. Some species can see ultraviolet light, for example, something that is outside the range of human perception. The way the brain processes colors also raises questions and reflections.

This new camera system appeared precisely with the aim of providing clarity. As you can see, reconstructing the colors that animals actually see can provide insights that can lead scientists to a better understanding of how they communicate and interpret the world around them.

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The system displays a display of animals

The technological novelty consists of a camera and a software system that captures videos of moving objects along with photos of animals in natural lighting conditions.

It works as follows: The camera records video simultaneously in four color channels: blue, green, red and ultraviolet. The data can be processed into “perceptual units” to produce an accurate video of how animals perceive these colors, based on existing knowledge of the photoreceptors in their eyes.

In the experiment, scientists showed the point of view of peacocks, bees, dogs and humans. See the difference between each of these visual facts:

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In the experiment, the spectrophotometry-based system predicted perceived colors with more than 92% accuracy. “We have long been fascinated by the way animals see the world. New techniques in sensory ecology make it possible to understand how static scenes might appear to an animal.”

Do animals see colors?

According to biologists at Arizona State University, if an animal's eyes have cones, they can see some colors. The most difficult task is knowing what colors the animal can see and how strong or weak the color will appear to the animal.

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Analyzing an animal's eye allows us to discover whether it contains cones and what colors of light these structures can detect. This careful observation can also lead to counting the number of cones and their location on the retina to understand how strong or weak a color is.

Based on studies conducted in the area, the university has made available materials that reveal the colors that species can see:

  • Spiders: UV and green
  • Bees: UV, blue and yellow
  • Crayfish: blue and red
  • Octopuses: blue only
  • Snakes: infrared
  • Birds: Five to seven colors (indeterminate)
  • Rabbits: blue and green
  • Mice: UV, blue and green
  • Squirrels: blue and yellow
  • Chimpanzee: Like a human

Of course, there is a whole world to study and discover day after day, but the knowledge in this field is already enough to arouse curiosity – something this new camera system enhances.

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source: PLoS Biology, Arizona State University