London, Feb 19 IANS | 8 months ago

Your pet kitten is able to see things your eyes can't - in ultraviolet. In other words, the secret behind the feline vision 'superpower' is ultraviolet light (UV) detection!

Cats, dogs and other mammals can see things invisible to humans in ultraviolet, says a fascinating research.

"Nobody ever thought these animals could see in ultraviolet, but in fact, they do," said study leader Ron Douglas, a biologist at City University London in Britain.

The lens of the human eye blocks ultraviolet light but in animals with UV-transparent lenses, ultraviolet light reaches the retina.

"It converts the light into nerve signals that travel to the brain where the visual system perceives them," explained Douglas.

Even in animals whose retinas aren't very sensitive to UV light, some of the light is still absorbed.

A reindeer, a cat and a dog could, therefore, probably see a white-furred animal, such as a bunny, hopping through a snow blizzard, while most people would just see a blur of all white.

Why human eyes block out ultraviolet light?

One possibility is that ultraviolet light damages the retina, just as it damages the skin over time.

Now, if there is one thing humans are good at, it's seeing detail.

"Perhaps that's why they have a lens that removes the UV. If they didn't, the world would appear more blurred," Douglas noted.

Understanding animals have ultraviolet vision could can provide a deeper understanding of why they behave the way they do, said the study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.

(Posted on 19-02-2014)

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