So Hobkin woke me up this morning at 6am, stomping and running around the house like a crazed furry cannonball. As it turns out, because of daylight savings (ffft), it’s actually 7am, but since I fell asleep after midnight, the difference is purely academic.
Played with frisky skunk. Fed hungry skunk. Contented skunk climbs into my lap and flops. Skunk is now asleep. I am awake and bleary-eyed, and pinned at the computer. Typical.
Been getting some excellent feedback on my novella. Enough to prod me to do some research which made me go “ooooo” (and do some rewriting).
I’ve wondered for a while what color spectrum non-primate mammals, specifically Hobkin, can see. People say dogs and suchlike are “colorblind” inferring that they can only see a monochromatic range of colors, but from my experience with our ferrets and Hobkin, they can perceive other colors than black, white, and shades of gray.
For e.g.: We have a bright blue acrylic fur mitt that we used when Hobkin was a baby to play various skunk games. Now that he’s all growed up, Matthew and I have noticed a proclivity for Hobkin to want to wrestle with blue things. He’ll go after non-blue things, but I’ve noticed especially that my turquoise turtleneck has teethmarks in the sleeve, as does the pair of light blue socks I own. He prefers to shake and maul into submission blue things.
So I did some surfing and discovered that non-primate mammals are normally considered to have “dichromatic” vision (versus primate vision which is “trichromatic”). That is, they only have the (S) and (M/L) type cones in their retinas, so they can see blues and yellows, but not reds or greens. This is the same as (or very similar to) the visual ability that people with red/green colorblindness have.
Which explains why Hobkin can differentiate blues, and yet can still be considered “colorblind.” Neat!
I’ve rewritten the sections where color is viewed through my protagonist’s eyes to make his vision dichromatic. He now only sees things in muted shades of blue and yellow, as well as black, white, and grays.
Well, I’m excited by it . . .
This is pretty cool, post it to skunkchat!
I didn’t even think of that. I definitely will!
I was interested to learn that human sensitivity to the blue range is MUCH lower than our sensitivity to the red and green ranges. I had always wondered why there was so little blue in nature, relatively speaking, but now I realize there could be so much more blue that I just can’t see, at least not as well as the other colors.
What I found really fascinating was avian vision, how double cones give birds tetrachromatic or even pentachromatic color vision. It does make one wonder how much we’re just not seeing with our puny human eyes.
Do you have any URLs on this? I’d be really intereste4d in reading some more on this…
The main ones I used are:
Photopigment basis for dichromatic color vision in the Horse (in the Journal of Vision)
Stout (in Encylopedia Wikipedia) — since the stoat is a close relative of the badger and ferret, being a Mustelidae . . .