Sunday, April 17, 2011

Night-vision let dinosaurs stalk prey by dark: study


FEROCIOUS, meat-eating dinosaurs were equipped with night vision that helped them stalk their prey in the dark, a new study shows.

Plant-eating dinosaurs could also see a fair bit at night, because they likely had to eat round the clock to keep their bellies satisfied, while flying dinosaurs, like birds, were active only during the day, said the study published today in the journal Science.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, were able to make these judgments by studying the eye area of fossilised dinosaurs.

By taking measurements of the bony circle called the "scleral ring" in their eye and comparing it to the eye socket size in 164 living lizards and birds as well as 33 dinosaur fossils, scientists could tell which ones saw in the dark.

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