Ecology and evolution of primate colour vision

Vorobyev, Misha (2004) Ecology and evolution of primate colour vision. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 87 4-5: 230-238. doi:10.1111/j.1444-0938.2004.tb05053.x

Author Vorobyev, Misha
Title Ecology and evolution of primate colour vision
Journal name Clinical and Experimental Optometry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0816-4622
Publication date 2004-07-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1444-0938.2004.tb05053.x
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 87
Issue 4-5
Start page 230
End page 238
Total pages 9
Editor H. Barry Colin
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Publisher Optometrists Association of Australia
Language eng
Subject C1
270799 Ecology and Evolution not elsewhere classified
780106 Political science and public policy
1113 Ophthalmology and Optometry
Abstract More than one hundred years ago, Grant Allen suggested that colour vision in primates, birds and insects evolved as an adaptation for foraging on colourful advertisements of plants-fruits and flowers. Recent studies have shown that well developed colour vision appeared long before fruits and flowers evolved. Thus, colour vision is generally beneficial for many animals, not only for those eating colourful food. Primates are the only placental mammals that have trichromatic colour vision. This may indicate either that trichromacy is particularly useful for primates or that primates are unique among placental mammals in their ability to utilise the signals of three spectrally distinct types of cones or both. Because fruits are an important component of the primate diet, primate trichromacy could have evolved as a specific adaptation for foraging on fruits. Alternatively, primate trichromacy could have evolved as an adaptation for many visual tasks. Comparative studies of mammalian eyes indicate that primates are the only placental mammals that have in their retina a pre-existing neural machinery capable of utilising the signals of an additional spectral type of cone. Thus, the failure of non-primate placental mammals to evolve trichromacy can be explained by constraints imposed on the wiring of retinal neurones.
Keyword Colour vision
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2005 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 14:16:43 EST