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Vol. 75, No. 3, 2010
Issue release date: August 2010
Section title: Paper
Brain Behav Evol 2010;75:195–203
(DOI:10.1159/000314278)

The Nocturnal Bottleneck and the Evolution of Mammalian Vision

Heesy C.P.a · Hall M.I.b
Departments of aAnatomy and bPhysiology, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, Midwestern University, Glendale, Ariz., USA

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Paper

Published online: 8/20/2010
Issue release date: August 2010

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 6
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0006-8977 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9743 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/BBE

Abstract

Evidence from the early paleontological record of mammalian evolution has often been interpreted as supporting the idea that mammals were nocturnal for most of their early history. Multiple features of extant mammal sensory systems, such as evolutionary modifications to the light-regulated circadian system, photoreceptor complement, and retinal morphology, support this nocturnal hypothesis for mammalian evolution. Here, we synthesize data on eye shape and orbit orientation in mammals as these data compare to other amniotes. Most mammals differ from other amniotes in retaining an eye design optimized for high visual sensitivity, with the requisite reduction in acuity, which is typically restricted to scotopically (i.e. low light) adapted amniotes. Mammals also possess the more convergent (similarly facing) orbits and, on average, the largest binocular visual fields among amniotes. Based on our analyses, we propose that extant mammals retain a scotopic eye design as well as expanded binocular zones as a result of their nocturnal origin. Only anthropoid primates notably differ from general mammalian patterns, and possibly have evolved an eye shape more typical of the ancestral amniote condition.

© 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel


  

Author Contacts

Christopher Paul Heesy
Department of Anatomy, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
Midwestern University, 19555 N. 59th Ave.
Glendale, AZ 85308 (USA)
Tel. +1 623 572 3661, Fax +1 623 572 3679, E-Mail cheesy@midwestern.edu

  

Article Information

Published online: August 20, 2010
Number of Print Pages : 9
Number of Figures : 6, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 78

  

Publication Details

Brain, Behavior and Evolution

Vol. 75, No. 3, Year 2010 (Cover Date: August 2010)

Journal Editor: Striedter G.F. (Irvine, Calif.)
ISSN: 0006-8977 (Print), eISSN: 1421-9743 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/BBE


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Paper

Published online: 8/20/2010
Issue release date: August 2010

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 6
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0006-8977 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9743 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/BBE


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