Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Mon, 3rd Oct 2016

Why do Cats Have Vertical Pupils?

Cat Eye (c) (3)

Why do cats have vertical pupils? Do clouds defy gravity? What is the brain basis of road rage? The Naked Scientists team tackle these and many more science questions, with help from an all-star guest panel. 

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 33:47 - What is at the centre of the Universe?

    Watching the water drain away down the plug hole got me thinking....At the centre of every spiral galaxy is there a massive black hole or a star of huge mass, in turn, if all the galaxies rotate around a certain point in space...could there also be a black hole or giant star ther...

  • 36:41 - Is it really always coldest just before dawn?

    Hi Chris, We're on a roadtrip to the coast and the sun is just coming up. We remembered the saying that it's always coldest just before the dawn (darkest as well but that makes sense). Is it true that it "suddenly" gets colder just before dawn? Love the show, Elizabeth Louw

  • 39:08 - Is black a colour?

    Hi. Is black really a colour ? Or just the absence of light ? (visible light)

  • 40:53 - Can a planet orbit a black hole?

    Just found your pod cast the other week. awesome podcast! I was wondering if anyone has found a black hole that has captured another interstellar object. I am assuming that the creation of a black hole is so violent that anything that was originally in that solar system was bl...

  • 48:10 - How much does the wind slow down when passing through a turbine?

    When wind turbines create electricity they reduce energy from the air. How much does the wind slow down after passing through the turbine? Can you put an efficiency number on a turbine like the binders on solar panels

  • 49:50 - Why do some people get motion sickness and some do not?

    Hello Chris, I am emailing you from across the pond a K a Atlantic Ocean. Why do some people get motion sickness and some do not? I am legally blind and have neuropathy ataxia and love motion. Planes, rollercoasters and sailing ships do not make me sick.



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I've been thinking about this... I'm pretty sure that using a vertical slit to regulate light, they will get different sort of optics for vertical versus horizontal imaging. If my intuition is correct, cats would get enhanced sensitivity to horizontal movement but highest visual resolution for distinguishing differences along the vertical axis.

Octopuses use chromatic aberration in combination with their oddly shaped pupils to extract color information. Cats could do the same thing, when their eyes are slits in bright light.

Goats have rectangular pupils, which I've read improves their peripheral vision. AndroidNeox, Fri, 7th Oct 2016

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