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16/04/2014 07:20:30

Author Topic: Why do wild cats have round pupils?  (Read 9072 times)

acekyle

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  • on: 08/07/2011 17:01:02
Acmae  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear naked scientists -

I am a big and faithful fan of your show.  Thanks for all the info you guys broadcast.

I have a question about feline eyes:

Unlike domesticated cats or lynxes, wild cats (bobcats, wild cat, lion, jaguar, puma, cheetah) don't have a slit-shaped pupil, but rather a round one, like ours. why is that?

Thanks and keep up the nice work!

Acmae

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 08/07/2011 17:01:02 by _system »

CliffordK

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  • Reply #1 on: 07/07/2011 16:00:49
Here is an excellent description of why cats have slit-shaped eyes.

http://ds.dial.pipex.com/agarman/bco/fact4.htm

So, the slit-shaped eyes are an adaptation for primarily nocturnal hunting, but allowing the cat to also function during the daylight.

Animals that are not nocturnal hunters may not have the same adaptation.

granpa

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  • Reply #2 on: 07/07/2011 17:04:01
small cats are snake mimics
or at least directly descended from one.

larger cats cant mimic snakes so slit eyes would be useless to them.

imatfaal

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  • Reply #3 on: 07/07/2011 17:18:14
cats and snakes are massively seperated on the geneaological tree.

Cliff's answer is good - but does not explain why wild cats have circular apertures and domestic cats have slit-like. 

First Question - is it proved that there is a difference between wild and domesticated moggies? 

RD

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  • Reply #4 on: 07/07/2011 19:00:53
A slit pupil allows a bigger aperture than the round type: larger pupil => better night vision.

  lion, jaguar, puma, cheetah) don't have a slit-shaped pupil, but rather a round one, like ours. why is that ?

These big round-eyed cats are apex (or close to apex) predators : they have few/no predators so can stroll about in daylight with impunity, whereas the smaller pet-sized slit-eyed cats will be prey to something, so better off only coming out to hunt at night.   
« Last Edit: 07/07/2011 20:20:34 by RD »

granpa

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  • Reply #5 on: 08/07/2011 02:59:28
cats and snakes are massively seperated on the geneaological tree.
 

I didnt say they werent.

 

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