Video: The World Through The Eyes Of Cats (part 4)
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
Mainly, the manifestations of intelligence depend on the work of the sense organs and the motor abilities of the body (motor skills are the totality of the body's motor processes). Evolution treats its resources very frugally, and the animal's brain develops in accordance with the sensory signals that it can perceive and with the actions that the limbs can perform.
First of all, the brain will perceive what is necessary for the survival of it, the brain, the host. If the animal hunts on sight, then the part of the brain that is responsible for receiving and processing visual stimuli will develop best. If the sense of smell is more important for hunting, then the area responsible for the perception of smells will develop better. A feeling that is more important for the survival of an animal develops at the expense of a less important one.
A part of the brain called the neocortex, which develops according to the needs of a particular species, plays a key role in learning. In people who lead a daytime lifestyle, a significant part of the neocortex is occupied by areas responsible for vision and fine motor skills of the hands. We do a great job with tests that require visual ability and the ability to manipulate small objects. Cats are crepuscular animals, that is, their activity increases at dusk, they have to rely mainly on their hearing. Therefore, a large area of the neocortex is responsible for the perception and processing of sounds. Large movable ears serve the same purpose. The example of blind cats shows how important hearing is for these animals - they can catch prey or grab a toy, guided only by sound.
Most people have excellent color vision, stereoscopic vision spanning 120 degrees (which gives good depth perception), relatively good hearing at certain frequencies, and a relatively weak sense of smell. It is difficult for us to imagine how animals, whose senses are so different from ours, perceive the world around them. Even tests to determine intelligence were designed for those creatures whose senses are similar to humans. Cats see the world in a completely different way.
Their eyes are positioned in the same way as humans, and they also have stereoscopic vision, allowing them to estimate size, distance and depth, which is necessary to chase and attack prey. The stereoscopic vision of cats covers an angle of 90-130 degrees, depending on the specific distinguishing features of the breed, such as the shape of the muzzle. However, they see the world as completely different from us. Careful studies, during which scientists measured the nerve impulses of the cat's brain, showed that cats' perception of colors is quite different from that of humans. Animals with poor color vision performed poorly on tests that required the ability to distinguish between colored objects.
The human retina has three types of cones (color-sensing cells) that are sensitive to red, green, and blue. Nerve cells perceive corresponding amounts of red, green, and blue, and our brain translates them into different colors of the spectrum. We can distinguish about 100 different shades. The retina also contains another type of cell - rods, which are sensitive to light and darkness. Since we are predominantly daytime, we have relatively few rods, and for this reason we see poorly in low light.
The eye of cats has cones that are sensitive to green and blue, and very few of these cells are sensitive to red. For cats, red, orange, yellow, and green appear to be one color, while blue and purple appear to be another. All other shades are different variations of these two colors (just as black and white photography is different shades of gray). Cats can see that a red object is not black, gray, or white, but cannot distinguish it from a green object. Cats are more active at dusk, when color vision is less important than night vision, so their retinas contain a large number of rods. Their color vision allows them to detect camouflaged predators, but many owners have noticed that cats often lose sight of the toy (or prey) if it is stationary. This is because the rods respond well to movement (chiaroscuro changes as the object moves). Cats have another dim light sensing device. Behind the retina, they have a reflective layer called the tapetum lucidum. It reflects light through the cells of the retina, amplifying it (like a night vision device). This is why a cat's eyes glow yellow-green when caught in car headlights or in flash photography.
Visual acuity in cats is different from that of humans. It is related to the size and structure of the eye. The sharper the vision, the more distinct the image we see, if the sharpness decreases, the picture becomes more blurred. People can see very thin streaks in the picture before they blur into one gray spot. In a similar experiment with cats, electrodes are implanted into their brains and the wavelengths emitted by the brain are measured when the cat is shown a picture with stripes. The stripes gradually become narrower until the signal emanating from the area of the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for vision, undergoes a characteristic change, showing that instead of stripes, the cat sees only a gray spot. A more gentle research method is cat training. She is taught to choose from two cards, not pure gray, but striped. The limit of visual acuity is the momentwhen the cat chooses the correct card in 50% of attempts. Visual acuity of cats is 4-10 times worse than human. If a person with normal vision can see well at a distance of 25 meters, then a cat can only see the details of an object at a distance of 6 meters.
Other experiments with feline vision show that cats can distinguish between the "plexuses" of various elements in a drawing. For example, they see a triangle formed by vertical lines against a background of horizontal stripes. This explains why the zebra has vertical stripes on its hide. It exists against the background of vertical lines - trees, grass, etc. If the zebra was painted in a longitudinal stripe, then it would immediately catch the eyes of predators.
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In addition to vision, cats have another very sensitive instrument - whiskers or vibrissae. Everyone knows that long hairs on a cat's cheeks measure the width of the hole, so the cat knows in advance if she can get through it. In addition to the hairs sticking out on the cheeks, cats also have smaller hairs on the muzzle, above the eyes and on the lower legs. Thanks to the latter, a blind cat can walk, avoiding obstacles very accurately. The vast number of nerve cells responsible for these antennae occupy a disproportionate amount of space in the cat's brain (just as cells responsible for the functioning of the hands and fingers predominate in the human brain).
Cats' sense of smell is much better than that of humans, but they are far from dogs. However, it is good enough that the experimental results amaze researchers. The hidden food turns out to be not so well hidden if you are a cat. Cats can sense that food has started to go bad (and refuse to eat it) long before we even feel it. Smell is extremely important for animals, which mark their territory and distinguish one another by smell.
Cats have excellent hearing. They distinguish sounds at frequencies up to 60,000 Hz, while humans (with some unique exceptions) only have frequencies up to 20,000 Hz. This means that cats hear the ultrasounds emitted by rats and mice. In addition, they can pinpoint the exact location of the sound source within an 8-degree angle thanks to their movable ears.
Compared to dogs, cats have a more complex brain mechanism for the functioning of their limbs. They can grasp and manipulate objects with amazing dexterity. This is especially noticeable in multi-toed cats. Photographs and radiographs of cat paws in action have shown that they can hold an object in various ways: pierce it with their claws, hold it between the claw and the pad of the paw, sometimes they just hold the object with their paws without using their claws. Cats also know how to move their fingers individually, which is especially clearly demonstrated by multi-toed cats. When a cat stretches out its paws to catch an object, it first seems to try on, like a person who is trying to grab something. Thus, grasping is not just a thoughtless reflex action in response to touching the ball of the paw, but a complex thought process.
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