This has been like this for several thousand years, and now the scientists have unveiled the reason behind why felines or the animals in the cat family have vertical pupils instead of round ones. The answer is related to how they have been hunting for their prey. Vertical pupils help the nocturnal predators have a good view on their prey over a long distance.
The research was done by the scientist Martin Banks and his team at the University of California, Berkley. The research suggests that the verticality of a pupil is decided by for how many hours the animal is active in the day and the night. Predators, which are mostly nocturnal such as cats, often have the vertical pupil in their eyes so as to make a proper gauge on their target.
As a result of this, the vertical pupil provides better details about the distance in between the predator and prey and the size of the prey. It improves the overall vision in the night as well.
As reported in the journal, there are two ways by which feline determines the distance between itself and the prey. First, as told, it is the stereopsis in which the brain compares the two images from both the eyes and then delivers the result. It is much similar to the way human eyes work.
Next thing works in a way that the predator’s brain takes the advantage of the blurry side to determine the distance and accurately process the results. Pupils must be wide open to maximum to take the advantage of this method, said Bank.
He also added that most of the cats are dependent on the blurring method when they are in the field hunting for the food, or if we talk about our cats, when they run after mice to even kill them.
Apart from that, we have a bird that is a predator, hunts in low light and doesn’t have a vertical pupil. Have you ever seen an owl that has a vertical pupil just like the cats. This proves that the pupil metric applies only to mammals for determining whether they are a predator or not.
Owls have eyes located in a relatively small head, which means that they do not have large brains and require them moving their heads to watch around as they have fixed eyes, they cannot move it unlike we and other animals.