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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2374872/Dogs-CAN-colour-Scientists-dispel-myth-canines-black-white.html/

 

I have heard all my life that dogs can only see in black and white. And that really didn't make sense when other animals can see color.

 

Then I read that they could see blue and yellow.

 

But they see a lot more color than that.

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Then I read that they could see blue and yellow.

 

Several years ago I'd read that dogs saw mostly in shades of green, but that they could see red.

 

From the color charts shown in this article, they apparently can see red, but not the way we see it, i.e. not as, well, red. (I could certainly distinguish the shade that correlates to what we see as red from the other shades in the charts.)

 

I definitley knew that dogs perceive red differently from other colors about 6 years ago when I adopted Bodhi. When I first got him, he'd lunge and snarl at red pick up trucks. Only red ones, never blue or black or white or any other color. (Interestingly, he never reacted to red cars or vans or even fire engines, only pick up trucks. Makes me wonder if he belonged to someone who'd had a red truck.)

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I have heard all my life that dogs can only see in black and white. And that really didn't make sense when other animals can see color.

I think part of the problem is that people who are dichromats (as against the majority who are trichromats) were often -- inaccurately -- called colour blind. Dogs are dichromats.
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I suspect that like people, different breeds/ bloodlines/ individual dogs see different colors. GentleLake's dog could apparently see red.

 

I once had a Collie/Shepherd that could apparently see green quite well. We used to play a game involving hiding a tennis ball in the folds of a red velour blanket. There were other toys hidden in the folds, but she would never mistake another toy for the tennis ball. She was using her eyes, and there were balls the same size as a tennis ball, but none fooled her. But once there was a tin of Bag-Balm in the covers, and she went for it. It was cubic in shape, and quite odoriferous. So there were both a visual and an olfactory clue. But it was primarily the same acid-green as a tennis ball. She would dive at it if she caught a glimpse of the green. As soon as she touched it or smelled it she lost interest, but would dive at a glimpse of that color. I tried it out on several occasions, never rewarding or praising for a feint at the tin. But she was often fooled. I am quite sure she could see that color.

 

I did not see any mention of the kind of dogs used it the experiment. It would be interesting to know if they were all the same kind.

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I've always been interested in the idea the what we see as colors is dictated by our culture.

 

There seem to be a gazillion terms for what we call "snow" in areas where there is a lot of snow. I understand that the names of colors in the old languages of the British Isles have a gazillion names for what Crayola calls "green" or "blue".

 

And not one of us ever knows what another one of us sees as "red". We may all look at a thing and call it "red". But you don't ever know what I see.

 

OK, it's weird. I tried to discuss this with a college freshman English Composition class. It was not a pretty session!

 

So how do I know what Max, Fritzie, Heidie, Midnight, Mitzie, Tiger, Ulthar, Vamp, Frodo, Tyga, Fergie, or Dixie sees?

 

I don't know what you see - and you don't know what I see.

 

Life is strange!

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Life is strange!

 

Yes it is, and sometimes stranger than fiction. I recently finished a story I've been meaning to write for years. The over-arching framework is exactly what you tried to discuss with your class --That everyone in the story experienced, and reacted to, a couple hours together in a different manner. I don't know whether it's any good, but I enjoyed writing it.

 

I think our increasing technical-based society has negatively affected much of the ability to try to see life through another's eyes. IMO, higher education often stagnates any remnants of imagination. Many students merely want to write something concrete in their lecture notes in preparation to regurgitate it in the examination. I believe the better instructors/professors do not discourage thinking outside traditional pathways. Hey, you tried, but it's hard to overcome students' resistance.

 

My border collie sees construction-worker yellow from almost any distance, in any circumstance. She barks apparently to give me a heads-up. If I see a worker's vest or a sign before she spots it, I can let her know that I'm aware, and the barking doesn't start, but she watches it intently. -- TEC

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Several years ago I'd read that dogs saw mostly in shades of green, but that they could see red.

 

From the color charts shown in this article, they apparently can see red, but not the way we see it, i.e. not as, well, red. (I could certainly distinguish the shade that correlates to what we see as red from the other shades in the charts.)

 

I definitley knew that dogs perceive red differently from other colors about 6 years ago when I adopted Bodhi. When I first got him, he'd lunge and snarl at red pick up trucks. Only red ones, never blue or black or white or any other color. (Interestingly, he never reacted to red cars or vans or even fire engines, only pick up trucks. Makes me wonder if he belonged to someone who'd had a red truck.)

 

They cannot see red, few mammals can. They see a shade of the colors they can see but can't pick up the light frequncy that we see as red. Many birds, on the other hand, can see and expanded range of colors that allow them to see colors we don't have names for....we might call them "super-extra red" or "uber-violet" because they have extra cones that allow them to distinguish greater detail in the spectrum.

 

 

I suspect that like people, different breeds/ bloodlines/ individual dogs see different colors. GentleLake's dog could apparently see red.

 

no....one species, one spectrum. males and females in some species may differ because the cones are "sex-linked". that means that what cones we have are tied to our x-chromosome. females have 2 of those, while males have an x and a y. So, if something goes screwy with a gene on the x, a female can just use the other one, but a male is stuck with the defect. That's why only male cats are calico, only female howler monkeys can see red, and why only male humans can be color blind.

 

I've always been interested in the idea the what we see as colors is dictated by our culture.

 

There seem to be a gazillion terms for what we call "snow" in areas where there is a lot of snow. I understand that the names of colors in the old languages of the British Isles have a gazillion names for what Crayola calls "green" or "blue".

 

And not one of us ever knows what another one of us sees as "red". We may all look at a thing and call it "red". But you don't ever know what I see.

 

OK, it's weird. I tried to discuss this with a college freshman English Composition class. It was not a pretty session!

 

So how do I know what Max, Fritzie, Heidie, Midnight, Mitzie, Tiger, Ulthar, Vamp, Frodo, Tyga, Fergie, or Dixie sees?

 

I don't know what you see - and you don't know what I see.

 

Life is strange!

 

you're talking about a couple different, but interesting things. about color. there was a time when blue was not a word. it's wild. there just wasn't a word for it in some languages. there was a radiolab about how the color doesn't come up in the odyssey. second, we do know what red is, because we know the biophysics of how we detect it. but yes, the philosophical brain-in-a-vat questions remain.

 

 

 

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What I've always wondered is why we believed dogs were color-blind in the first place? Why did our culture tell us they only see in black and white? Since color vision is an evolutionary advantage, and since WE have it, it would make sense to me that our assumption is that other species see color as well, though maybe not in exactly the same way.

 

Once online, a grown-but-young person strongly expressed her knowledge that we dream in black and white. I'd never heard nor imagined that before. Why would my brain dream in black and white when my visual experiences my whole life have been colored? Didn't make any sense at all to me. I've never heard that "fact" presented again - but the OP was completely certain.

 

I love to freak out my own students by explaining that red objects aren't really red in their essence - they are just objects that absorb all other colors of the spectrum except red. So, the red light is reflected and makes it to our eyes. If you shine a light without the red segment onto a red object, it looks entirely black. Ditto with the other colors. My favorite old lab was taking the kids in a darkened room and shining specific wavelengths of light onto colored objects. Shine a yellow light on a baking soda box, and all the other colors become black. Shine a blue light on an apple, and it's black. It's very cool.

 

Also, same unit: Play the color-blind test. Find a middle school student - boy generally - who sees the world utterly differently from his peers, and hasn't yet figured it out. Showed a boy two folders once: blue and magenta-to-the-point-of-pink. He could not see a difference between them. Had been walking around all his life pretty much red-blind, but in 14 years had never realized it. So... yeah, it's entirely possible that what I call "red" and what you think is the same color is not the same color.

 

As opposed (maybe) to college students, eighth graders LOVE this stuff! This is the year when their brains are first awakening from their concrete, black-and-white world views. The Big Bang (and the absence of time and space before it) blows their mind. The notion that they are incredibly tiny in a gigantic expanding universe. They eat this stuff up, revel in it, take it home and tell their families about it. Unsettling them is one of my greatest joys. Those classes are often animated, loud, and emotional... but I think that's an illustration of the truest kind of learning: brain revolution.

 

Mary

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Zach: I'm sure you just misspoke but only female cats are calico - not males.

 

I think way back when people just looked at the difference in rods and cones in people eyes and in dog eyes and decided since they were not the same that dogs were color blind. It is kind of an odd thing to think really.

 

I was reading a book by a well known doctor that appears on TV and stuff and he made a blanket statement that humans were the only animals that could see color. So it's a pretty common error in thinking.

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What I've always wondered is why we believed dogs were color-blind in the first place? Why did our culture tell us they only see in black and white? Since color vision is an evolutionary advantage, and since WE have it, it would make sense to me that our assumption is that other species see color as well, though maybe not in exactly the same way.

 

it may be advantageous, but so would the ability to fly....we only ever get what can come up via mutation, then selection can act on it. this is cool stuff, shame you're not in my class, we talk about this a lot. Red is an important color for primates because it is an indicator of ripeness in many fruits, and of youth in many leaves. Among primates, there is a group called anthropoids that includes all monkeys and apes (including us). Anthropoids are further split into platyrrhines (new world monkeys) and catarrhines (old world monkeys and apes). Catarrhines can see red because somewhere after our split with platyrrhines, our shared ancestor had a mutation that gave it a new rod. It was such a great new trick that it stuck around. Among platyrrhines, this has arisen independently in howler monkeys, but only females.

 

Dichromatic vision is thought to be better for discerning shapes under low light. Something about not being distracted by grey tones that look similar in color but distinct with less color. I believe that's right, but I forget the details. In any case, my point is that seeing red isn't going to be some miraculous advantage for all species. Dogs don't need to distinguish ripe fruit from unripe fruit, especially if the ability might interfere with hunting in low light.

 

Zach: I'm sure you just misspoke but only female cats are calico - not males.

 

I think way back when people just looked at the difference in rods and cones in people eyes and in dog eyes and decided since they were not the same that dogs were color blind. It is kind of an odd thing to think really.

 

I was reading a book by a well known doctor that appears on TV and stuff and he made a blanket statement that humans were the only animals that could see color. So it's a pretty common error in thinking.

 

Yes, thank you, my mistake.

 

I think you're probably right, they saw the difference but didn't have it all worked out. Also, sometimes people, whether they're news reporters, science writers or lay people, may hear "dichromatic" and think 2-color, black and white. But in fact it's two colors plus the ability to see light and dark.

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I love to freak out my own students by explaining that red objects aren't really red in their essence - they are just objects that absorb all other colors of the spectrum except red. So, the red light is reflected and makes it to our eyes. If you shine a light without the red segment onto a red object, it looks entirely black. Ditto with the other colors. My favorite old lab was taking the kids in a darkened room and shining specific wavelengths of light onto colored objects. Shine a yellow light on a baking soda box, and all the other colors become black. Shine a blue light on an apple, and it's black. It's very cool.

 

 

Mary

 

that's very cool stuff. what blew my mind when i learned it is that leaves "changing color" are just changing how they reflect light. Also, if you dive 30ft down into the ocean, the colors start changing.... everything has a sort of dull blue grey look, except anything with violet in it, which lights up like how some flowers do at twilight.It's all about what wavelengths are being blocked and reflected. I really wish I had a few more rods....

 

if you enjoy this stuff, i think you'd LOVE this one episode of Radiolab on color. So fun: http://www.radiolab.org/2012/may/21/

 

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no....one species, one spectrum. males and females in some species may differ because the cones are "sex-linked". that means that what cones we have are tied to our x-chromosome. females have 2 of those, while males have an x and a y. So, if something goes screwy with a gene on the x, a female can just use the other one, but a male is stuck with the defect. That's why only male cats are calico, only female howler monkeys can see red, and why only male humans can be color blind.

 

 

 

Actually calicos, torbies and tortise-shells are nearly always females, orange tabbies (with no white) are nearly always male. Orange tabby females do occur, but usually you can find at least a few white hairs on them.

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Actually calicos, torbies and tortise-shells are nearly always females, orange tabbies (with no white) are nearly always male. Orange tabby females do occur, but usually you can find at least a few white hairs on them.

 

My friend Ellie has a female orange tabby with a white blaze on her chest. Tigger also has 6 toes on 3 of her feet. She's 18 yrs old!

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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