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.

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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.