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Book by Schwab Ivan R
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I found myself being drawn further into it the more I read. (Eye News, June 2012)
Amazing color photos on nearly every page ensure a vivid trek through evolution of the eye....Evolution's Witness in whole or part, is an essential mainstay for multiple disciplines, irreplaceable for vision scientists and eye care professionals. (Jeff Rabin, Optometry and Vision Science, May 2013)
Ivan Schwabs landmark new book,Evolutions Witness, which charts the development of eyes in all major taxa, comes at a propitious time.... it is a comprehensive reference but also a source of inspiration and ideas for new ways to study myriad aspects of vision. (Daniel Graham, Perception, 2012)
In Evolutions witness: how eyes evolved, Ivan R Schwab ventures back nearly 4,000 million years to witness the key events that have shaped the ability to form an image and trace the evolution of an organ that was considered by Charles Darwin to be almost perfect... Any person interested in comparative neurobiology will find this book a must and will marvel at how natural selection has driven adaptational change... this comprehensive and beautifully illustrated text should sit on the shelves of all students, graduates and academics with an interest in evolution, adaptation, neural plasticity and natural history. For those more intimately working in the field of visual neuroscience (including optometrists and ophthalmologists), it provides a unique and holistic perspective that provides the context in which we are all working. (Shaun P. Collin, for Clinical and Experimental Optometry, July 2013)
With predation and carnivory as catalysts, the first known eye appeared in a trilobite during the Cambrian explosion approximately 543 million years ago. This period was a crucible of evolution and teemed with anatomic creativity although the journey to formed vision actually began billions of years before that.
The Cambrian period, however, spawned nearly all morphologic forms of the eye, followed by descent over hundreds of millions of years providing an unimaginable variety of eyes with at least ten different designs. Some eyes display spectacular creativity with mirror, scanning or telephoto optics. Some of these ocular designs are merely curiosities, while others offer the finest visual potential packed into a small space, limited only by the laws of diffraction or physiological optics.
For example, some spiders developed tiny, well-formed eyes with scanning optics and three visual pigments; scallops have 40-100 eyes circling their mantle, each of which has mirror optics and contains two separate retinae per eye; deep ocean fish have eyes shaped like tubes containing yellow lenses to break camouflage; and some birds have vision five times better than ours; but this is only part of the story. Each animal alive today has an eye that fits is niche perfectly demonstrating the intimacy of the evolutionary process as no other organ could. The evolution of the eye is one of the best examples of Darwinian principles.
Although few eyes fossilize in any significant manner, many details of this evolution are known and understood. From initial photoreception 3.75 billion years ago to early spatial recognition in the first cupped eyespot in Euglena to fully formed camera style eyes the size of beach balls in ichthyosaurs, animals have processed light to compete and survive in their respective niches.
It is evolution's greatest gift and its greatest triumph. This is the story of the evolution of the eye.
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