Do animals look you in the eye
If this is your first time registering, please check your inbox for more information about the benefits of your Forbes account and what you can do next! How do animals perceive eye contact from other species? Such ability and its resultant behavior is found in many fish, a number of reptiles especially lizards , most birds and most mammals. In these animals, communication between members of the same species often usually involve the actions of the head with its mouth and eyes. A number of vertebrate species easily recognize the eyes of a human and "know" when they are being looked at. Highly social animals like dogs and wolves respond to this depending on the situation.
What Do Dogs and Cats See?
Did you know that eye coloration only varies in human populations and their domestic animals? Wild animal species, with few exceptions, have just one type of eye coloration, be it light or dark. By the way, when we say eye color, we refer to the iris encircling the pupil, which is always dark and expands and contracts rapidly depending on light conditions. In the case of humans, it is common knowledge that the eye color palette is remarkably large.
What is not known, however, is how and when this variation emerged in the evolutionary history of Homo sapiens. And the same can be said for domestic animals, both of feather and fur. There are blue-eyed dogs, cats, horses, goats, camels and llamas.
And some of these species also have yellow-eyed variants. Cat breeds in particular show a remarkable variation in eye coloration. In a majority of domestic breeds, however, brown is the default color. As it should be expected for domestic animals under selective breeding, the emergence and fixation of variants in both coat or plumage, as well as eye coloration, started at the early stages of domestication in the Neolithic due to the cherry-picking of rare color mutants.
Curiously enough, eye color variants for humans may have also started very recently about 8, years ago , concurrent with sedentarism and domestication of plants and animals, and only or mainly in Europe. As of today, eye color variation in humans may be described as continuous , with numerous shades from very light blues to very dark browns. In wild animals, and also in the ancestors of domestic animals, eye coloration does not tend to vary.
The few reported cases of eye color variation in wild species, mostly in birds, correspond to changes associated to maturation with age and some rare instances of sexual dimorphism as with certain duck species such as the common pochard Aythia ferina. Perhaps blue- and green-eyed individuals were preferred as mates and left more descendants spreading their eye color in the populations.
Bird species in which the adults have bright yellow or red eyes may have a darker, brownish color, in the juvenile phase. This seems to imply that certain color types require some time for the individual to accumulate the necessary pigments that provide the definitive coloration of the adult eye. Melanins, by the way, are responsible for the color differences in the eye color of humans: dark eye colors contain eumelanin and pheomelanin, green eyes contain mainly pheomelanin, and blue eyes contain practically no melanin.
Today it is possible to get blue eyes with a surgical procedure that removes melanins from the iris. And the acquired color is permanent because the melanin is never replaced. Sexual selection can be discarded as a driving force for eye color variation in domesticated species, and natural selection does not act on them as heavily as in the case of their wild ancestors.
But, what is the case for humans? Maybe it is a case of sexual selection, after all. In wild animals with no variation in eye color, it seems that this trait is adaptive and fixed by natural selection.
It may well be that all Darwinian processes would be at work regarding eye colors: artificial selection in domestic animals, natural selection in wild animal species, and perhaps sexual selection when humans became farmers. View the latest posts on the On Biology homepage. Eye color variation in domestic goats. About Latest Posts. His research involves evolutionary ecology and conservation biology. He particularly focusses on studying birds of prey, and is also interested in the application of new technologies to monitor wildlife populations.
He has also patented a procedure to extract and quantify melanin pigment from biological materials. Popular On Biology tags.
Can animals see colour?
All of these functions must then be integrated by the brain to produce useful vision. Although we are unable to ask our pets to read an eye chart, through comparative studies, it is possible to make some educated assumptions about their vision. The position of the eyes within the head determines the degree of peripheral vision as well as the amount of the visual field that is seen simultaneously with both eyes.
It was once thought that animals, including cats and dogs, could only see in black and white. However, scientists have proven this to be a myth. In all animals, including humans, the perception of colour is determined by the presence of cells in the eye called cone photoreceptors. Cats and dogs have two kinds of cones, which are sensitive to blue and green light. This means they have a useful level of colour vision.
How do other animals see the world?
You know things are getting serious when a poker player slides sunglasses on to stop their eyes giving the game away. Humans are the only animals with obviously visible eye whites, with irises that are much more prominent and therefore readable. We can easily tell where someone is looking and often what someone is thinking. And in those animals that do have white sclera, it is rarely visible. Red or pink sclera can be associated with poor health, while yellowing sclera can be a sign of jaundice or old age, Professor Elgar explains. Conspicuous irises can also show what someone is looking at. Certain species like chimpanzees have better such capabilities than other animals, but compared to humans is still very limited. Head of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Professor Nick Haslam, says that most humans are able to do this effortlessly. Those that are not so good at it include people with some form of autism.
Wild animals have more to gain from watching out for predators than getting all warm and fuzzy when they see a smiling human. But your dog is nothing like any other animal. A new study has revealed that your pet can love you so much that it might even ignore danger to see your smiling face. How often do you pet your dog? Gaze into its loving eyes?
Did you know that eye coloration only varies in human populations and their domestic animals? Wild animal species, with few exceptions, have just one type of eye coloration, be it light or dark. By the way, when we say eye color, we refer to the iris encircling the pupil, which is always dark and expands and contracts rapidly depending on light conditions.
How Animals See Color
Dog Canis familiaris , gecko Gekko vittatus , garden snail Cornu aspersum , Maxima giant clam Tridacna maxima , jumping spider Salticus scenicus. Seeing through one eye or many, in technicolour or black and white, few animals experience the world as we do. By analysing the properties of animals' visual systems, we can model what the world would look like through their eyes. The images below each show a scene as viewed by a human.
Have you experienced eye irritation after contact with pets? Or maybe after entering a room with pets? In the United States, pet allergies are common. Although cat allergies are more common, dog allergies are more severe. As such, a significant number of people are affected.
How Animals See Color
Eye contact occurs when two animals look at each other's eyes at the same time. Coined in the early to mids, the term came from the West to often define the act as a meaningful and important sign of confidence, respect, and social communication. The study of eye contact is sometimes known as oculesics. Eye contact and facial expressions provide important social and emotional information. People, perhaps without consciously doing so, search other's eyes and faces for positive or negative mood signs. In some contexts, the meeting of eyes arouses strong emotions. Eye contact provides some of the strongest emotions during a social conversation. This primarily is because it provides details on emotions and intentions.
How Do Animals Perceive Eye Contact From Other Species?