December 1, 2014

Many animals can still see color in the dead of night

By BBC Earth, December 1, 2014

Humans may only see the night in shades of grey, but many animals see the darkness in rich colour

By Caroline Williams

It's not easy to imagine how the world looks through another creature's eyes. After all, we only ever get to see it through our own. That is probably why most people, scientists included, assumed that other animals can only see in shades of grey in the dark.

But a growing number of species are proving us all wrong. From nocturnal geckoes to moths, lemurs and bats, animals of all shapes and sizes are turning out to have colour vision even in near-total darkness. Some researchers now think that colour vision at night might be quite common.

October 1, 2014

The Rainbow Connection

The Scientist Magazine, October 1, 2014

Color vision as we know it resulted from one fortuitous genetic event after another.

 By Kerry Grens

In a steamy Eocene jungle, a newborn monkey opens its eyes for the first time. The world it sees is unlike any other known to its primate kin. A smear of red blood shines against a green nest of leaves. Unbeknownst to its mother, this baby is special, and its eyes will shape the human experience tens of millions of years in the future. Were it not for this little monkey and the series of genetic events that created it, we might not have the color vision we do: Monet’s palette would be flattened; the ripeness of a raspberry would be hidden among the leaves; traffic lights? They likely would never have been invented.

Read the rest of the article.

July 18, 2014

Bugs May Have Made Us Brainy

Student Science, July 18, 2014

New research backs a theory that insect meals helped primates — including humans — evolve better brains

 By Sharon Oostoek

You may have small bugs to thank for your big brain and its ability to creatively solve problems, say researchers working in Costa Rica. Primates are mammals such as monkeys, apes and hominids (a group that includes modern humans). Scientists had long suspected that finding and eating bugs when other food is scarce helped primates ­evolve bigger brains.

July 1, 2014

Insect Diet Helped Early Humans Build Bigger Brains

Science Daily, July 1, 2014

Quest for elusive bugs spurred primate tool use, problem-solving skills

Figuring out how to survive on a lean-season diet of hard-to-reach ants, slugs and other bugs may have spurred the development of bigger brains and higher-level cognitive functions in the ancestors of humans and other primates, suggests new research.

Read the rest of the article, or the original article by Gerry Everding here.

June 1, 2014

The Melin Lab represents at FameLab

Lab members' science communication efforts are rewarded

FameLab is a one-of-a-kind competition in science communication - a three-minute chance to explain your research, however complicated, to a general audience using no slides or media, but just the power

April 30, 2013

The Technicolor Tarsier

On Earth, April 30, 2013

You could get lost gazing into the eyes of a tarsier. But these primate peepers are also providing insight into how human vision evolved.

By Melissa Mahoney

To early mammals, the world looked something like the beginning of The Wizard of Oz: colorless. But at some point, a group of primates began seeing reds, greens, and blues—and many shades of pink, yellow, and aquamarine in between. Scientists have long thought that color vision—called trichromacy—developed in primates sometime after they stopped hunting at night and began waking up with the sun.

Read the rest of the article

April 1, 2013

For Early Primates, a Night Filled With Color

New York Times Observatory, April 1, 2013

For Early Primates, a Night Filled With Color

By Douglas Quenqua
A new study suggests that primates’ ability to see in three colors may not have evolved as a result of daytime living, as has long been thought. The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, are based on a genetic examination of tarsiers, the nocturnal, saucer-eyed primates that long ago branched off from monkeys, apes and humans.