A new study reveals that the animals that perceive time fastest are those that are small, can fly, or are sea predators.
These preliminary results will be presented at the Ecological Society’s annual meeting in Edinburgh on Tuesday 20th.th December by Dr. Kevin Healy, University of Galway.
The study, the largest to date, analyzed the speed with which over 100 animals perceive changes in the world (known as temporal perception). Researchers have found that animals with fast-paced lifestyles have visual systems that can detect changes at a higher rate.
Species such as blowflies and dragonflies can detect changes at the fastest speeds possible with vision that can process 300hz (which can see changes 300 times per second), much faster than humans who can see at 65hz. It was fast. In vertebrates, the fastest eyes that can see at 146hz belonged to flycatchers. Salmon he clocked in at 96hz and dog he clocked in at 75hz. The slowest eye belonged to crown-of-thorns starfish at 0.7hz.
“Species with fast vision help them sense rapid changes in their environment. It helps with that,” explained Kevin Healy, Ph.D.
“By observing such a wide range of animals, from dragonflies to starfish, our findings show that a species’ perception of time itself is related to how quickly its environment can change. This will help us understand predator-prey interactions and how aspects such as light pollution affect certain species more than others.”
One of the unexpected findings from this study is that many terrestrial predators have a relatively slow perception of time compared to aquatic predators. Dr. Kevin Healy said: once they get up. ”
Not all animals have fast time perception. It is energetically costly and limited by how quickly the neurons that connect to the retinal cells of the eye can recharge. Animals that do not require rapid vision use this energy for other requirements such as growth and reproduction.
Variations in time perception also occur within species, including humans. In soccer, goalkeepers perceive changes at a higher rate, and some research suggests that coffee can temporarily boost this slightly.
The analysis in this study used data collected from a number of studies that used flickering light experiments to measure time perception. In each experiment, a flash of light was used and a special device called an electroretinogram was used to record the rate at which the optic nerve sent information. This measured the rate at which animals could detect the blink rate of light. This is known as the critical flicker fusion frequency.
Dr Kevin Healy presents the research at the annual meeting of the British Ecological Society. This work is currently private. The conference will bring together over 1200 ecologists to discuss the latest breakthroughs in ecology.