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the principles that govern the vision of insects and crustaceans current emerged for at least 429 million years , long before the appearance of the first mammal on the Earth, or that they’ve gone extinct dinosaurs. This is one of the conclusions of a study recently published in “Scientific Reports”, which has revealed the internal structure of an eye fossilized trilobite, showing that it is almost identical to that of the compound eyes of bees today.

A group of researchers, led by Brigitte Schoenemann, used digital microscopy to examine a fossil of trilobite discovered in 1846 in the Czech Republic. This is a copy of Aulacopleura koninckii of a little more than a centimeter long in which it has been possible to observe with great detail the structure of its compound eyes, on the back of his head.

The authors have detailed the arrangement of several structures similar to the compound eyes of insects and crustaceans today. Among these are the ommatidia, organelles of 35 micrometers in diameter (a micrometer is one-thousandth of a millimeter) that contain packages of photosensitive cells, arranged around a tube that is transparent and receives the name of rabdoma .

After observing their disposal, they have proposed that each of these ommatidia was surrounded by a barrier of pigmented cells. The authors believe that above them was a thick lens and a crystalline plane, through which the light passed to be focused towards the rabdoma.

A copy of the trilobite “Aulacopleura konincki” including two compound eyes – DwergenpaartjeReconstruyendo the life of the trilobite

The nature of these structures, and in particular the diameter of the lenses, have led them to suggest that A. koninckii lived in shallow waters and that was probably active during the day.

The barriers of pigmented cells indicate that the trilobites I had a vision in mosaic in which each unit contributed in the same way to build an image, similar to what occurs in the compound eyes of insects and crustaceans today.

therefore, the researchers concluded that their findings reinforce the notion that many compound eyes have remained unchanged since the Paleozoic, a geologic period that occurred between 542 and 251 million years old.

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