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Praying Mantises Watch Movies While Wearing Tiny 3-D Glasses

MULTIZ321

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Praying Mantises Watch Movies While Wearing Tiny 3-D Glasses - by Amina Khan/ Science Now/ Los Angeles Times/ latimes.com

"Hollywood might have a whole new target audience for 3-D movies. Scientists have outfitted praying mantises with old-school 3-D glasses and showed them video clips to find out whether these tiny animals can see the world in three dimensions.

The results, described in Scientific Reports, show that vertebrate animals -- including amphibians, birds and mammals such as humans -- aren’t the only creatures sporting stereoscopic vision. The findings could offer new insight into the evolution of this remarkable ability in invertebrate animals, and lead to new algorithms to program 3-D vision into robots.

Stereoscopic vision gives us the perspective of depth, allowing us to perceive our world in three dimensions. Each eye has a slightly different focal point, and our brains use that slight difference to calculate the distance to an object. It’s an impressive computational feat, and all kinds of vertebrate animals have been shown to use it. Of course, vertebrates all come from the same lineage, and often have relatively complex neural systems compared with many invertebrates.

Invertebrates like insects tend to be smaller, have far simpler visual systems and less neural processing power. And yet many of them appear to have pretty effective visual systems. Take the praying mantis, which is a formidable hunter. How can it stalk and snag other bugs without depth perception?...."

Richard
 
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