Scientists explain why cats have vertical eyes, goats have horizontal pupils

By @Guneet_B on
Cats crowd the harbour on Aoshima Island in the Ehime prefecture in southern Japan February 25, 2015. An army of cats rules the remote island in southern Japan, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in a fishing village that is overrun with felines outnumbering humans six to one. Picture taken February 25, 2015. Reuters/Thomas Peter

Animals, including cats, goats and sheep, have a different shape of the pupil. However, the function of the horizontal and vertical shape of the eyes was not known until recently when a team of researchers from the University of California-Berkley linked the shape of the pupils to the foraging pattern of the animals.

The researchers have established a correlation between the pupil shape of the terrestrial species and their ecological niche, that is, the time of the day at which the animals are the most active and their foraging pattern. According to the researchers, animals with vertically elongated pupils, like cats, are predators and are mostly active during the day and the night. On the other hand, animals with horizontal elongated pupils have laterally placed eyes and are likely to be a prey.

In the study, the researchers explained the length and shape of the pupil of either the predator or the prey with the help of a scientific reason. The vertically elongated pupil in the predators helps them to zoom in or zoom out the picture of the prey, in addition to helping them to see clearly during the day and night. The complete details of the study have been published in the Journal of Science Advances.

Meanwhile, the horizontal elongation helps the prey spot their predators and escape death. According to the researchers, the horizontal elongation further strengthens the peripheral vision of the animals.

According to The Inquisitr, snakes are one of the most predatory animals of all other group of animals studied during the study. Snakes have vertically-slit round-shaped pupils which help them spot their prey easily. Based on whether the animal is a predator or a prey, the analysis of the study data helps establish the position of the animal in the food chain.

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