Tarsiers’ Bulging Eyes Shed Light On Evolution of Human Vision
After eons of wandering in the dark, primates developed highly acute, three-color vision that permitted them to shift to daytime living, a new Dartmouth College study suggests.
The findings challenge the prevailing view that trichromatic color vision, a hallmark of primate evolution, evolved only after they started getting up with the sun, a shift that gave rise to anthropoid (higher) primates, which, in turn, gave rise to the human lineage. The results are published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
The authors based their findings on a genetic study of tarsiers, the enigmatic elfin primate that branched off early on from monkeys, apes and humans. Tarsiers have a number of unusual traits — from their ability to communicate in the pure ultrasound to their iconic bulging eyes. Such sensory specializations have long fueled debate on the adaptive origins of anthropoid primates. (Keep reading)
| image credit: Dartmouth College