The archer fish, a skilled marksmen that shoots insects down from trees by spiting streams of water, spots prey that aren't in line with what's behind them, an ability once thought to be found only in mammals, according to a linkurl:study; published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) today (13th September). The results suggest that the ability to see objects oriented differently than their backgrounds is "a fundamental building block of vision," said linkurl:Susanna Martinez-Conde,; a neurobiologist at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, who was not involved in the research. "The fact that both humans and fish, which are very distant in terms of evolution, process orientation in similar ways [suggests] that orientation is a critical aspect of visual information," agreed linkurl:Ohad Ben-Shahar,; a computer scientist at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel and lead author of the study. Up till now, researchers...
One of Ben-Shahar's archer fish in the experimental arena
Video courtesy of Ohad Ben-Shahar
A. Mokeichev et al., "Orientation saliency without visual cortex and target selection in archer fish," PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1005446107

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