Ear­li­est mam­mals had eyes geared for night

The Guardian Weekly - - Discovery -

The ear­li­est mam­mals were night crea­tures that only emerged from the cover of dark­ness af­ter the demise of the day­time-dom­i­nat­ing di­nosaurs, ac­cord­ing to re­search. This would ex­plain why rel­a­tively few mam­mals fol­low a day­time-ac­tive – or “di­ur­nal”– lifestyle, and why most that do still have eyes and ears more suit­able for liv­ing by night. “Most mam­mals to­day are noc­tur­nal and pos­sess adap­ta­tions to sur­vive in dark en­vi­ron­ments,” study co-au­thor Roi Maor of Tel Aviv Univer­sity said. “Mon­keys and apes (in­clud­ing hu­mans) are the only di­ur­nal mam­mals that have evolved eyes that are sim­i­lar to the other di­ur­nal an­i­mals like birds or rep­tiles. Other di­ur­nal mam­mals have not de­vel­oped such pro­found adap­ta­tions.”

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