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Normal and Defective Colour Vision$
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John D. Mollon, Joel Pokorny, and Ken Knoblauch

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198525301

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525301.001.0001

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ContentsFRONT MATTER

Photopigment Polymorphism in Prosimians and the Origins of Primate Trichromacy

Chapter:
(p.14) Chapter 2 Photopigment Polymorphism in Prosimians and the Origins of Primate Trichromacy
Source:
Normal and Defective Colour Vision
Author(s):

Gerald H. Jacobs

Jess F. Deegan II

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198525301.003.0002

This chapter describes a study of photopigment polymorphism in prosimians. A noninvasive electrophysiological technique, electroretinogram (ERG) flicker photometry was used to measure spectral sensitivity in three adult (one male, two female) black and white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata variegata). The pigment polymorphism observed in black and white ruffed lemurs predicts variations in colour vision. Two of the animals could be dichromatic, each with distinctly different colour vision characteristics, while the third (a female) has the photopigment basis for trichromacy. With the recent evidence that prosimians have cone opsin gene and photopigment polymorphisms, it seems clear that the idea that only anthropoid primates can be trichromatic was mistaken. At the same time, it is equally clear that the number of prosimians potentially enjoying trichromacy may be limited.

Keywords:   primates, prosimians, colour vision, spectral sensitivity, black and white ruffed lemurs

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