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Can the Tyrannosaurus see?

I’m all pretty sure most Jurassic Park fans remember the heart-stopping incident with Alan Grant and Lex. A few days ago, July 1 to be extract, a good friend of mine CyborgCompy [1] pointed me to an article at sciencenews.org [2]. It would seem scientists at University of Oregon in Eugene have discovered that the Tyrannosaurus probably had the best vision in its class. This creature had an ability to see non-moving objects and a focal length of up to 3.7 miles. It would go to show that Alan Grant and Lex would be in for a world of trouble. Here is an excerpt:

 T. rex had a binocular range of 55°, which is wider than that of modern hawks, Stevens reports in the summer Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Moreover, over the millennia, T. rex evolved features that improved its vision: Its snout grew lower and narrower, cheek grooves cleared its sight lines, and its eyeballs enlarged.

“It was a selective advantage for this animal to see three-dimensionally ahead of it,” Stevens says.

Stevens also considered visual acuity and limiting far point—the greatest distance at which objects remain distinct. For these vision tests, he took the known optics of reptiles and birds, ranging from the poor-sighted crocodile to the exceptional eagle, and adjusted them to see how they would perform inside an eye as large as that of T. rex. “With the size of its eyeballs, it couldn’t help but have excellent vision,” Stevens says.

He found that T. rex might have had visual acuity as much as 13 times that of people. By comparison, an eagle’s acuity is 3.6 times that of a person.

T. rex might also have had a limiting far point of 6 kilometers, compared with the human far point of 1.6 km. These are best-case estimates, Stevens says, but even toward the cautious end of the scale, T. rex still displays better vision than what’s needed for scavenging.

This article is definitely worth the read. To read more about our friend, the Tyrannosaurus, click here [2]. It might save your life if you ever end up on Isla Sorna (again).