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‘Night life’ influenced shape of mammal eyes


The eye structures of most mammals have retained the imprint of nocturnal life during the Mesozoic Era, a period that lasted from 250 million years ago to 65 million years ago.

Humans and other anthropoid primates, such as monkeys and apes, are the only groups that deviate from this pattern, according to a new study from the University of Texas at Austin and Midwestern University.

According to Chris Kirk, associate professor of anthropology at UT Austin, early mammals were predominantly nocturnal during the Mesozoic partly as a strategy for avoiding predation by day-active dinosaurs.

“It’s a bit surprising to still see the effects of this long period of nocturnality on living mammals more than 65 million years after non-avian dinosaurs went extinct, but that’s exactly what we found,” he says.

Full story at Futurity.

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Photo credit: Fotolia

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