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November 22 2012

Animal vision evolved 700 million years ago


Gaze deep into any animal eye and you will find opsin, the protein through which we see the world. Every ray of light that you perceive was caught by an opsin first. Without opsin there would be no blue, no red, no green. The entire visible spectrum would be.. just another spectrum.

But opsins havenít always been the sensitive light detectors that they are today. There is one critter, obscure and small, carries opsins that are blind to light. These opsins arenít broken, like they are in some cave dwelling species. They never worked to begin with. They are the relics of a distant past, a time in which our ancestors still dwelt in darkness.

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