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Why animals don't have infrared vision
Date:6/9/2011

ce each chemical bond has the potential to contain some small amount of thermal energy, the total amount of energy a pigment molecule could contain can, in theory, be enough to trigger the false alarm.

"For a long time, people assumed that light and heat had to trigger via different mechanisms, but now we think that both types of energy, in fact, trigger identical changes in the pigment molecules," says Yau. Moreover, since longer wavelength pigments have higher rates of false alarms, Yau says this may explain why animals never evolved to have infrared-sensing pigments.

"Apart from putting to rest a long-standing debate, it's a wake-up call for researchers to realize that biomolecules in general have more potential thermal energy than previously thought," says Luo.


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Contact: Audrey Huang
audrey@jhmi.edu
410-614-5105
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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