Vision did not save the night parrot from fences and machines

The sight of one of the two parrots, the leading nocturnal, adapted to the lack of light, but not to see obstacles in the dark, it is reported in Scientific Reports. This is evidenced by the size of the optic tectum and openings for the optic nerve. They became known thanks to the computer microtomography of the skull of one of the individuals that was found on the roadside dead. Although a field vision test night parrots was conducted, the results still represent a great value, so as to find these birds in nature is not easy, and in Museum collections no wet preparation of the body or of the authority representative.

Night parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) , a rare Australian bird, which, as the name implies, active mostly at night. Due to the secretive lifestyle, and, apparently, due to low numbers, it even for some time considered extinct, but in recent years was able to detect eggs, and the remains of parrots were killed in a collision with the fences, and even live poultry. In 1990, fellow of the ornithological Department of the Australian Museum Walter Bowles (Walter Boles) was found on the side of the road mummified corpse of a night parrot. The bird, apparently, fell under the wheels of the truck, but her skull remained surprisingly intact.

Now scientists from the University of Queensland, Queensland Museum and the University of Lethbridge headed by the Faith of Weisbecker (Vera Weisbecker) conducted a computed tomography scan of the skull and got virtual endocrine parrot — print the inner side of his skull. It determined the size of the optic tectum, the main area of processing of visual information in the avian brain, as well as holes in the bones of the skull through which the optic nerve passes from the eye to the brain.

It did then, to determine the suitability of view of the night parrot to the lack of light. Wet preparations (alcohol or formalin) brain or eye P. occidentalis does not exist, and to catch these birds is extremely difficult, so imaging of the skull — the only way to know something about his vision. Another parrot, a leading nocturnal (kakapo), the volume of the tectum and the thickness of the optic nerve compared with fluorescent types, but the eyes about the same size as theirs. Due to this, kakapo nice to see in the dark, but the sharpness of daylight vision it low.

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