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Primate visual signals
Higham, James P. Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of Anthropology, New York University, New York, New York.
- Color visual signals
- Polymorphic color vision
- Multimodal signals
- Future research
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Primates are unusual mammals. Unlike the majority of mammals, which rely on a strong sense of smell for navigating the world, primates are characterized by a shift away from an ancestral reliance on olfaction toward an increasing use of the visual sense. Primates possess more forward-facing eyes that allow a greater resolution of depth distances (stereoscopy) and an increased number of color receptor types in the retina, allowing for a greater discrimination of different wavelengths of light. This increased reliance on vision may have originally been associated with improved foraging on colorful fruits, but it has led primates to communicate with each other using a wide range of visual signals (see illustration).
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