We all know that humans are capable of wonderful things that animals are not. From bipedal walking to critical and creative thinking, humans are apparently superior in all ways. But some animals also have marvelous traits that the human race would be delighted to have.
Did you think that we humans are so lucky to possess the ability to see and distinguish so many colors? Well, some birds had been even more gifted by nature in this area, being able to detect literally millions of more colors than humans.
Hummingbirds enter the spotlight
Hummingbirds are the birds capable of such an impressive and evolved vision. But how is this possible? A new research explains that hummingbirds possess a fourth retinal cone capable of detecting ultraviolet light, and humans do not have such a feature. This allows the birds to see four dimensions of color, instead of just three like humans do.
Mary Caswell Stoddard, who is the study’s lead author and assistant professor at Princeton University, further explains:
Humans are color-blind compared to birds and many other animals,
Not only does having a fourth color cone type extend the range of bird-visible colors into the UV, but it also potentially allows birds to perceive combination colors like ultraviolet plus green and ultraviolet plus red — but this has been hard to test.
Those responsible with the discovery are researchers from Harvard, Princeton, the University of Maryland, the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, and the University of British Columbia. To come with the conclusion that hummingbirds have far better vision than humans, they created bird feeders with tubes on them that had a wide series of colors. While the hummingbirds manifested their love of sugar, the scientists were able to observe the animals as they chose the ultraviolet and green light associated with sugar water.
The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.