To explain the Blog

To explain the Blog

Life first emerged approximately 3.75 billion years ago from the swirling broth of the prebiotic soup. The process leading to its appearance is only partially understood, but has several possibilities. The harsh conditions on earth at the time would have […]

Figure 2  Anableps viewed from above

Amazing Four-eyed fish

       Most animals have evolved eyes that focus in air or in water. Some have evolved eyes to have an aerial or aquatic view at different times, but few species indeed have evolved a design that can focus […]

Jumping spiders and their magnificent eyes

Jumping spiders and their magnificent eyes

Most spiders get a bad rap. Few would harm you, and only rarely are spiders aggressive towards humans.  Most will defend themselves if threatened,  of course, and a few are venomous. Most spiders, however, would prefer to ignore humans and […]

Fossil of apex predator of the Cambrian Seas

The Eyes of Anomalocaris

The lord and master of the Cambrian seas was the undulating predator Anomalocaris. It was likely highly efficient, and now we are learning, highly visual. It was considerably larger than any other creature in those shallow seas and must have […]

Solar panel wasp

Solar panel wasp

  Oriental Hornet (Vespa orientalis) Photosynthesis is usually the province of the plants. Very few animals can actually make energy from sunlight. But, some few members of the animal kingdom have harnessed the sun by getting the necessary solar panels […]

Avian skills-Video

How a kingfisher hunts

How a kingfisher hunts

Kingfishers          True aquatic kingfishers are a generally secretive family (Alcedinidae) with dramatic feeding habits.  Most are brightly colored, often solitary fishers. They usually nest in banks along the riverine habitats in which they live.  A smaller number of kingfishers […]

Cambrian

Oldest eye?

Metacanthina issoumourensis

For many years, the first confirmed eye was thought to be that of a trilobite, Olenellus. The eyes of trilobites fossilize easily because they are composed of a form of calcium carbonate, called calcite. (The white cliffs of Dover are […]

Pterosaurs

Pterosaurs

Pterosaurs

These dramatic reptiles arose in the Triassic and continued a150 million-year sovereignty until the end of the Cretaceous. During this time they were uncontested champions of flight, and ruled the skies. Although often thought of as dinosaurs, they were but […]

Visual chemistry

Cryptochromes

Cryptochromes

Cryptochromes Rhodopsin is a photoreceptive molecule composed of a Vitamin A derivative (retinal) and an opsin. Opsins are proteins that complement the retinal, and are “tuned” to certain wavelengths of light, and this means that they respond most vigorously to […]