Why did some ichthyosaurs have such large eyes?

Humphries, Stuart and Ruxton, Graeme D. (2002) Why did some ichthyosaurs have such large eyes? Journal of Experimental Biology, 205 (4). pp. 439-441. ISSN 0022-0949

Full content URL: http://jeb.biologists.org/content/205/4/439.abstra...

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Why did some ichthyosaurs have such large eyes?

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Abstract

Many species of extinct marine ichthyosaurs had much larger eyes for their body size than would be expected of extant marine mammals and reptiles. Sensitivity to low light at great depth for the deep-diving genus Ophthalmosaurus has recently been suggested as the reason for the large eyes of these animals. Here, we discuss the implications for vision at such depths and consider other optical factors determining eye size. We suggest that the large eyes of ichthyosaurs are more likely to be the result of simultaneous selection for both sensitivity to low light and visual acuity. The importance of the evolutionary history of extant marine mammals and extinct ichthyosaurs is discussed, as are ecological factors driving both acuity and sensitivity.

Keywords:Ophthalmosaurus, adaptation, animal, article, biological model, ecology, evolution, eye, fish, growth, development and aging, light, physiology, visual acuity, Adaptation, Physiological, Animals, Fishes, Models, Biological, Visual Acuity, vision, eye size, vertebrates, dive depth, icthyosaur
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
C Biological Sciences > C160 Marine/Freshwater Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:15279
Deposited On:14 Nov 2014 11:48

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