Archive for 02/17/2012

Stephanie Pappas –

Here’s a tongue-twister for you: Crafty cuttlefish can complete contours to carefully choose camouflage.

What this means, without all the alliteration, is that the visual systems of these squidlike creatures are more sophisticated than previously realized.

In fact, cuttlefish can pick the perfect camouflage even without seeing the entirety of what they intend to blend in with, much as humans can translate simple line drawings into meaningful information.

“If you think of our ability to make sense of really basic visual information like cartoons and sketches and children’s pictures, we’re really good at just using ‘edge’ information and making sense of it,” said Sarah Zylinski, the author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University.

“It seems that for cuttlefish, too, edges are really important in making sense of the environment.”

The human visual system can “fill in” information to create shapes out of space, as illustrated by the famous “Kanizsa Triangle.”

This illusion consists of three angles and three black circles with pie-shape chunks taken out of them. The angles and circles are arranged such that the brain interprets them as two overlapping triangles.

Full story…