How many senses? which animals can see in colour?

In summary, humans have color vision due to rods and cones in our eyes that interpret light of different wavelengths as "blue," "green," and "red." Some other mammals, such as dogs and fish, also have color vision. Birds, bees, and flower-loving insects are believed to have color vision as well and can see beyond the visible spectrum. Animal testing has been used to determine color vision in other species, but there is a possibility of false results due to the animals' ability to discern between brightness levels. Other animals, such as nocturnal animals, have adaptations to improve their night vision. Some animals, like sharks, have a sense of "electroreception" that allows them to detect electric fields. The platyp
  • #1
Nereid
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Humans have colour vision - we have rods (which are quite sensitive to light) and cones (which come in three types, and whose different responses to light of different wavelengths our brains interpret as 'blue', 'green', and 'red').

Do any other mammals have colour vision? If there are any, do they use the same mechanism (cones)?

Do any other animals have colour vision? If so, what mechanisms do they use?

Human eyes (and brains) can 'see' light with wavelengths from ~395 nm to ~700 nm. IIRC, some animals can 'see' UV (shorter than 395 nm) and some others IR (longer than 700 nm). What are the extremes? How do the receptors differ from our rods and cones?

Humans also have a sense of touch, smell, taste, and hearing. IIRC, some snakes have a sense of 'heat' - it's not 'sight' because there's no imaging done with the IR their pits detect. Other animals - the platypus, some eels? - have a sense of 'electrical field strength' in water. A magnetic field direction has also been reported (IIRC) in some birds (and bacteria?).

The senses of smell and taste are 'just' presence/absence (and strength) of certain chemicals, and this is common in living things.
 
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  • #2
Originally posted by Nereid
Do any other mammals have colour vision? If there are any, do they use the same mechanism (cones)?

Do any other animals have colour vision? If so, what mechanisms do they use?


Dogs, contrary to popular belief, can recognize colors.

Fish are believed to be able to recognize colors.

Color vision may be the norm in the animal kingdom.
 
  • #3
references?

Originally posted by Julian Solos
Dogs, contrary to popular belief, can recognize colors.

Fish are believed to be able to recognize colors.

Color vision may be the norm in the animal kingdom.
Would you post some references please?
 
  • #4


Originally posted by Nereid
Would you post some references please?

http://www.vetcentric.com/magazine/magazineArticle.cfm?ARTICLEID=1144 that I found. It says that dogs can see some colors, but are red-green colorblind.

Also, the ability to perceive color is believed to be very prevelant among birds.

Nocturnal animals have a reflector in the back of their retina called a tapetum, which reflects light that missed the receptors on the way in, giving it a chance to be detected on the way back out, tremendously amplifying night vision.

http://ink.news.com.au/classmate/takchall/Perception/cm_site_takchallmainperception.htm with a lot of interesting data.

Electrical field detection is known as "electroreception" and is, AFAIK, only present in sharks and rays. This sense is performed by "Lorenzini receptors" (which I probably misspelled). I have actually seen film of hammerhead sharks (my favorite shark) sweepimg the ocean floor with their snout just above the sand. Using the Lorenzinies in their snouts like a metal detector, these animals found prey burried under the sand. They would just stop suddenly and take a big chomp out of the seafloor, and a skate or flounder would appear from the cloud of muck!

I also have seen that squid and octupy, although they can change color better than any other creature, cannot see it.
 
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  • #5
Any other mammal like the platypus?

I found this on the platypus ... not quite the same as sharks, but ...
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20031215/platypus.html
 
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  • #6
Very cool! They seem to have active, rather than passive radar.

BTW, did you know they're also poisonous?
 
  • #7
I was just wondering how exactly do they determine the color vision of other animals. Obviously they must have some form of test(s), but without verbal communication how can they know for sure. Even the most highly trained animal still could unable to comprehend something like this.

Although, I wonder, would it be possible to actually see colour strictly by wavelength. Assuming you were technically colour blind, but could discern differences in wavelength and could determine colour based on shades. And if so, would you still be considered colour blind if you could do this?
 
  • #8
Off the top of my head from watching science documentaries & reading books (perhaps later I can dig up some links)...

cats have partial color vision (difficulty seeing red? I forget)

so do bees

some flower-loving insects (like bees) can see further past violet than we can

I'd have to assume that the great apes can see color to some extent given their relation to us.

Fish are believed to be able to recognize colors.

I agree...particularly considering the colors they display (so I would tend to think birds fall into that category too). Same goes for squid & octopus since they can change colors like a chameleon(sometimes used for communication I think).
 
  • #9
Originally posted by London Kngiths
I was just wondering how exactly do they determine the color vision of other animals. Obviously they must have some form of test(s), but without verbal communication how can they know for sure. Even the most highly trained animal still could unable to comprehend something like this.
Tests in animals are done by reward for recognising diferent colors. These tests are not fool-proof, but pretty convincing IMHO. In order to get a false result, the animal would have to ahve some ulterior motive. It would have to refrain from agtting its reward for the purpose of deceiving the lab-tech into thinking it couldn't see color. And this would have to be a conspiracy agreed upon by all the thousands of individuals within a species that get tested. Not impossible, but highly improbable.

Although, I wonder, would it be possible to actually see colour strictly by wavelength. Assuming you were technically colour blind, but could discern differences in wavelength and could determine colour based on shades. And if so, would you still be considered colour blind if you could do this?

No, the ability to recognise wavelength is all that color vission is, so recognising wavelengths is seeing color.

But the animal testing above did lead to some misleading results in the early years due to the animals' ability to discern between amplitudes or brightness. Once researchers detected this flaw in the testing method, much re-testing had to be done. Colored test objects had to be carefully selected to have equal brightness, at which point many animals lost their ability to see color.

I once saw a test of an octopus, placed in a fishtank with colored gravel on the bottom. one half of the tank had red and blue gravel layed out in a pattern of large blocks. The octopus changed its color pattern to a set of blocky geometric shapes. A partition in the middle of the tank was raised, and the octopus was free to mave to the other half, where the bottom was colored in similar large blocks of yellow and green. But these particular shades of yelow and green were selected bacause they were of equal brightness. The octopus became a single uniform sheet of grey.
 

Related to How many senses? which animals can see in colour?

1. How many senses do humans have?

Humans have five traditional senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. However, some scientists argue that humans have more than five senses, including senses such as pain, temperature, balance, and proprioception (the sense of body position).

2. Can other animals see in color?

Yes, many animals, including birds, fish, and insects, can see in color. However, not all animals have color vision. For example, most mammals, including dogs and cats, have limited color vision and can only see shades of blue and yellow.

3. Which animal has the best sense of smell?

The animal with the best sense of smell is the bloodhound. They have approximately 300 million scent receptors in their nose, compared to the 5 million in a human's nose. This allows them to track scents for miles and makes them popular for use in tracking and search and rescue operations.

4. Do animals have a sixth sense?

The term "sixth sense" is often used to refer to extrasensory perception or the ability to sense things beyond the five traditional senses. While there is no scientific evidence to support this, some animals, such as sharks and birds, have been shown to have abilities that humans may consider "sixth sense," such as detecting magnetic fields for navigation.

5. Which sense is the most important for survival?

This is a difficult question to answer definitively because all of our senses work together to help us navigate and survive in the world. However, some may argue that vision is the most important sense for survival, as it allows us to perceive danger, navigate our surroundings, and find food and shelter. Others may argue that the sense of touch, which helps us avoid harm and communicate with others, is the most crucial for survival.

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