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Oldest eye discovery sheds light on early sight

Oldest eye discovery sheds light on early sight

Thursday 14 December 2017

A European team including scientists from the University of Edinburgh have found what they believe to be the first example of an eye in an “exceptional” 530-million-year-old trilobite fossil. Crabs, bees and dragonflies all use a form of the very same eye, but the discovery shows that the structure and function of the eye has changed little over 500 million years.

It is difficult for us to imagine a world without sight. Pre-eyes, life existed in total darkness, and revolved primarily around contact. After the advent of sight, creatures became predatory, spotting food at a distance, and developing ever-more sophisticated mechanisms to trap prey. Life before eyes was also devoid of colour, a concept which can only exist by virtue of sight.

The right eye of the trilobite fossil was worn away, allowing researchers access to the inner workings of the organ. The level of detail in the new discovery gives a remarkable insight into how early animals saw the world around them.


1.Science Alert:
This 530-Million-Year-Old Fossil Could Be The Oldest Eye Ever Discovered.


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