Fossilized fish eye rods and cones suggests color vision is at least 300 million years old

December 24, 2014 7:22 AM

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An amazingly well preserved 10 centimeter long fossilized fish found in the Hamilton Quarry (Kansas) suggests that the fish have been seeing the world in color since at least 300 million years. Since the fossils from this region get buried in the sediments in the lagoon very quickly, they are usually very well preserved.

In this particular case, the 300 million year old fish is so well preserved that even the rods and cones in its eyeballs can still be seen very clearly under a scanning electron microscope. This is the first time fossilized photo receptors from a vertebrate eye have ever been found.

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