Eyes Evolved Fast, Says Fossil Record

Atheistextremist
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Eyes Evolved Fast, Says Fossil Record

 

 

Palaeontologists have uncovered half-a-billion-year-old fossils demonstrating that primitive animals had excellent vision. An international team led by scientists from the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide found the exquisite fossils, which look like squashed eyes from a recently swatted fly.




This discovery will be published on June 30, 2011) in the journal Nature. The lead author is Associate Professor Michael Lee from the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide's School of Earth & Environmental Sciences.

Compound Eyes

Modern insects and crustaceans have "compound eyes" consisting of hundreds or even thousands of separate lenses. They see their world as pixels -- each lens produces a pixel of vision. More lenses mean more pixels and better visual resolution. (Each lens does not form a miniature image -- a myth often perpetuated by Hollywood.)

Evolutionary Advantage

The fossil compound eyes were found on Kangaroo Island, South Australia and are 515 million years old. They have over 3000 lenses, making them more powerful than anything from that era, and probably belonged to an active predator that was capable of seeing in dim light.

Their discovery reveals that some of the earliest animals possessed very powerful vision; similar eyes are found in many living insects, such as robber flies. Sharp vision must therefore have evolved very rapidly, soon after the first predators appeared during the 'Cambrian Explosion' of life that began around 540 million years ago.

Given the tremendous adaptive advantage conferred by sharp vision for avoiding predators and locating food and shelter, there must have been tremendous evolutionary pressure to elaborate and refine visual organs.

Who owned them?

As the fossil eyes were found isolated, it's not certain what animal they came from, but they probably belonged to a large shrimp-like creature. The rocks containing the eyes also preserve a dazzling array of ancient marine creatures, many new to science. They include primitive trilobite-like creatures, armored worms, and large swimming predators with jointed feeding appendages.

More pixels: more chance of survival

The recently discovered fossil eyes would have seen the world with over 3000 pixels, giving its owner a huge visual advantage over its contemporaries, which would have seen a very blurry world with about 100 pixels. This is much better than the living horseshoe crab, which sees the world as 1000 pixels, but not as good as living dragonflies, which have the best compound eyes - seeing the world as 28,000 pixels...

 

Cool photo of fossil eye in link...

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629132546.htm 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


cj
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Truly cool. 

Truly cool.

 


Atheistextremist
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Imagine if we lived on a planet with a more active hydrosphere

 

or hyperactive tectonic plates. There'd be nowhere near as many fossils, much to the detriment of our comprehension.

I can never look at a fossil without thinking of some flower from a year 10 formal/prom I went to in 1982 (gulp) that I still have saved between the pages of a very embarrassing diary. It retains its deep purple colour. 

Fossils are creatures snapped between the sedimentary 'pages' of an ancient geological notebook. They are not open to the vagaries of interpretation but are inviolate images from the past.

When you get fine detail like this, it's best of all.  

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


redneF
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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

Imagine if we lived on a planet with a more active hydrosphere or hyperactive tectonic plates. There'd be nowhere near as many fossils, much to the detriment of our comprehension.

It really is a blessing, innit?...

 

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris


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re

It sreally a cool.


Ktulu
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Atheistextremist wrote:More

Atheistextremist wrote:

More pixels: more chance of survival

The recently discovered fossil eyes would have seen the world with over 3000 pixels, giving its owner a huge visual advantage over its contemporaries, which would have seen a very blurry world with about 100 pixels. This is much better than the living horseshoe crab, which sees the world as 1000 pixels, but not as good as living dragonflies, which have the best compound eyes - seeing the world as 28,000 pixels...

Why are they the easiest to catch? as a kid I found dragonflies unfairly easy to catch.  Check mate atheist!

Edit:  Cool article otherwise, that whole Eye as disproving evolution thing is one idiocy that creationists insist on hanging on to. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


redneF
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Ktulu wrote:... as a kid I

Ktulu wrote:
... as a kid I found dragonflies unfairly easy to catch.  Check mate atheist!

lol...good one.

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

" Only on the subject of God can smart people still imagine that they reap the fruits of human intelligence even as they plow them under." : Sam Harris