Primates Trade Smell For Sight
As you humans grow older it becomes necessary for you to adjust to the loss of some of your senses. Maybe the sight goes or hearing or even taste. The brain is so clever that it makes the other senses work harder to help fill in the gaps in the information. Now, scientists have found a similar compensation mechanism in the apes.
Conventional wisdom says that people deficient in one sense–such as vision or hearing–often acquire heightened acuity in another. These adjustments, of course, take place over the lifetime of an individual. Now it appears, however, that similar adjustments may occur over evolutionary time. Yoav Gilad and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthology in Germany and the Weizmann Institute in Israel have found a correlation between the loss of olfactory receptor (OR) genes, which are the molecular basis for the sense of smell, and the acquisition of full trichromatic color vision in primates.