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Which organism has the sharpest vision in terms of distance and spectrum. Please propose any other useful measure.

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    $\begingroup$ You might also want to consider field of vision and acuity. $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ you may want to pick a metric, humans have decent acuity but see a much smaller portion of the spectrum than non-mammals. Almost any bird see's more of the spectrum than almost any mammal. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Jun 18, 2022 at 11:17

3 Answers 3

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This paper suggests that bats have a comparatively high depth of focus.

It's believed that butterflies (depending on species) have the widest visual spectrum.

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  • $\begingroup$ Don't hawks have exceptional range? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 18:33
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    $\begingroup$ Birds of prey - hawks, falcons, eagles, vultures - along with some owls all have exceptional vision. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 12:36
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    $\begingroup$ I thought bats were blind. $\endgroup$
    – VanJeer
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 6:28
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    $\begingroup$ How about the Mantis Shrimp? $\endgroup$
    – SQB
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 11:37
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A good measure for "sharpest vision" is known as acuity of vision. Visual acuity denotes the ability to perceive detail and resolve temporal motion. This metric informs how sharp or blurred an organism perceives its surroundings. There is software which helps quantitate this metric with visual examples.

The following example shows how a comparison of different organism's perception may look like, visually:

Comparison of human, hummingbird, butterfly and bee vision

When we broadly compare the various vision systems of organisms based on acuity, a plot below may give one a better perspective:

Acuity across different organisms

From the above, it is noted that eagles have specially evolved eyes with high visual acuity. Of note, the Australian wedge-tailed eagle can see 8 times more detail than humans can. Interestingly, their eyeball have the ability to squeeze and elongate similar to a zoom lens on a camera.

Reference:

  1. Wedge-tailed Eagle Factsheet

  2. Visual Acuity and the Evolution of Signals

  3. AcuityView Software

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  • $\begingroup$ So I guess without glasses, my vision is as good as that of a butterlfy. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 4:49
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T-rex

As an archosaur it sees a wider portion of the spectrum than mammals and it has the largest eyes known in terrestrial vertebrates, and eye size correlates well visual acuity, so the largest eye should be close the the highest acuity.

So yes Jurassic park could not be more wrong about T-rex vision, T-rex would see better than the humans trying to hide.

https://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/357830#:~:text=Thus%2C%20as%20eye%20size%20increases,eye%20length%20(table%201).

https://www.academia.edu/13386081/Evolution_Beyond_the_rainbow

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