Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cats Have Super, Psychedelic Vision

Science has known that birds, insects, reptiles and fish can detect ultraviolet light. Recent studies show that more animals share this ability than originally believed. A new study shows that cats and dogs may be able to see UV, too.

Cats are nocturnal and have been thought of as being able to "see in the dark." They have long been a symbol of the mysterious. It's now believed they can see things invisible to humans such as psychedelic stripes on flowers and flashy patterned feathers on birds. The secret to this is ultraviolet light detection, an ability shared by many animals but not humans. Snow reflects UV but white fur does not, allowing reindeer to see polar bears at a distance. Humans would just see a blur of all white.

It is assumed that most mammals do not see UV because they have no visual pigment sensitive to UV. They have lenses like those of man that prevent UV from reaching the retina. Certain people, such as those who have had their lenses replaced during cataract surgery, can see some UV, but most humans cannot.

Humans are good at seeing detail. If we didn't have a lens that removed the UV so that we don't see it, the world would appear more blurry.

1 comment:

Paul McDermott said...

Nice to see that someone other than me has realised that we are NOT the Ultimate species on this planet. Cats are more intelligent than Humans (we are 'allowed' to co-exist in Their Society, principally as slaves, servants and vassals).
Their Language is a combination of sounds and gestures, but is fairly easy for us to "learn" if we apply ourselves diligently to the task (paying particular attention to the 'non-verbal' elements required).
I personally have no difficulty holding long and interesting conversations with my cats, who are gracious enough to concede that I am beginning to make myself understood, most days ...
I live in hope of learning the knack of seeing things in other parts of the light spectrum. Cosmic and Mystic BOTH assure me that the theory relating to UV light only explains a PART of the facility, and given time I CAN learn how to develop this enhanced nightsight ...