Will The Sea Prove To Contain More Revelations Than Outer Space Itself?
Mantis shrimps, dubbed "thumb splitters" by divers because of their vicious claws, have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom.
The amazing eyes of a giant shrimp living on Australia's Great Barrier Reef could hold the key to developing a new type of super high-quality DVD player, British scientists said on Sunday.
(Ben Hirschler, Reuters) Mantis shrimps, dubbed "thumb splitters" by divers because of their vicious claws, have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom.
They can see in 12 primary colours, four times as many as humans, and can also detect different kinds of light polarisation -- the direction of oscillation in light waves.
Now a team at the University of Bristol have shown how the shrimps do it, using remarkable light-sensitive cells that rotate the plane of polarisation in light as it travels through the eye.
Manmade devices do a similar thing in DVD and CD players but they only work well for one colour, while the shrimp's eye operates almost perfectly across the whole visible spectrum from near ultra-violet to infra-red.
Transferring the same multi-colour ability into a DVD player would result in a machine capable of handling far more information than a conventional one.
"The mechanism we have found in this eye is unknown to human synthetic devices. It works much, much better than any attempts that we've made to construct a device," researcher Nicholas Roberts told Reuters.
He believes the "beautifully simple" eye system, comprising cell membranes rolled into tubes, could be mimicked in the lab using liquid crystals.
Details of the mantis shrimp research were published in the journal Nature Photonics.
Just why the mantis shrimp needs such a rarefied level of vision is unclear, although researchers suspect it is to do with food and sex.
Our world is very strange. Science is even stranger. In a holographic universe a segment of a thing can contain all of the characteristics of the entire body. Under intense magnification a particle can become a wave. Considering these realities - literally anything is possible.
Is it possible that the oceans of earth contain all of the secrets we could ever find in even the deepest corners of the universe? Is our tiny, blue segment a representation of the huge, infinite cosmos? Can the waves of the ocean contain all of the particles of space and time itself? After all, everything is made of star stuff...from the tiniest shrimp to the most complex beings at the top of the food chain.
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