Owl eyes are specially designed for the dark to spot prey from afar. Here’s how they see behind themselves and what makes their eyes so powerful.
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The bigger the eyes, the more the pupils can expand and let light in, which helps them see in the dark. That’s why you see a lot of nocturnal animals with these big eyes. Something crazy about owls and really all birds and reptiles is that the size of their pupil is controlled by skeletal muscle. So what that means is they decide how big they want their pupil. Whereas for us, we don’t have that. We can’t make that decision. That’s all part of our nervous system and it’s all reflective and automatic.
Bigger eyes also mean more space between the lens at the front of the eye and the retina at the back. This distance helps the owl’s eyes focus a bigger and more sharp image on their retina, resulting in their impressive vision. For example, the tawny owl can se e about 2 or 3 times better than us humans, but of course vision varies from owl to owl.
The other amazing thing about owl eyes is their shape. Usually when referencing eyes we talk about “eyeballs.” But in this case, owls have eye tubes. Scientists believe that as birds evolved, their center of gravity moved to the center of the body to help with balance when flying, so their heads had to become lighter. This is the reason owls have tubular eyes. A tubular eye takes up less space then a round, or globular eye and in turn, weighs less.
#owls #vision #seeker #tusktotails #anatomy
Barn owls maximize head rotations by a combination of yawing and rolling in functionally diverse regions of the neck
"Owls are known for their outstanding neck mobility: these birds can rotate their heads more than 270°."
An owl’s eye: Schematic optics and visual performance in Strix aluco L.
"The schematic eye of Strix aluco, a nocturnal owl species, is described."
The visual fields of the tawny owl, Strix aluco L
"The uniocular retinal field of Strix aluco is highly asymmetrical. The maximum width of 124° is less than that recorded in any other vertebrate."
Tusks, trunks, claws, tails. Animals have evolved in ways to adapt to their environment by developing some truly unusual physical traits. Why did elephants develop a trunk, and how does it even work? What are insect wings made of? How are tails used throughout the animal kingdom? Our host Dr. Evan Antin explores the strange world of animal physiology.
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