Tag: James Fleming

James Fleming is technically a PhD student in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, UK, although he spends most of his time slaving away over a computer in the School of Life Sciences instead. His research involves piecing together the history of the different modes of vision throughout history — using the fossil record and molecular information to ask how, when and why the ability to see evolved in the way that it did. He is at present particularly focused on the arthropods and their relations, and has a special passion for insects.

Contact Details:

Mr James Fleming, School of Life Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TQ, UK.

Patterns in Palaeontology: A story of vision

Patterns in Palaeontology: A story of vision

Patterns in Palaeontology
by James Fleming*1 Introduction: Photoreception, the ability to perceive light, is a sense shared by many living organisms on Earth. However, only some can take the step beyond merely detecting light levels, and generate an image. Humans are among the animals that have image-forming vision, and are able to see in colour in the day (polychromatic diurnal vision) and in black and white at night (monochromatic nocturnal vision) — the shades of colour that we pick up on an evening out trigger our diurnal receptors at very low levels. However, this is not the only way in which animals can see the world around them. Some species, such as whales and dolphins, can see only monochromatically no matter the time of day, while others see in colour no matter how dark it gets! The elephant hawk-mot...