Science Junkie
Cats’ pupils
It’s always challenging to establish with precision the reason for an evolutionary adaptation. I can answer this question with a well-supported theory, but the exceptions are not lacking.
Generally, the eyes of nocturnal animals —like small cats— have multifocal lenses that allows them to increase contrast and depth of field in low light conditions. A circular pupil, contracting to protect the eye against bright light, would interfere with this type of structure (the iris shades the peripheral zones of the lens) leading to the loss of well-focused images. The slit pupils, therefore, may have developed in association with multifocal optical systems because more effective. 
Vice versa, big cats are generally diurnal predators and they have monofocal eyes like us. So, their pupils tend to be circular because they are an adequate adaptation to monofocal optical systems.
Asked by lorin-irenaImages credit: Felipe Santana - fPat Murray
Zoom Info
Cats’ pupils
It’s always challenging to establish with precision the reason for an evolutionary adaptation. I can answer this question with a well-supported theory, but the exceptions are not lacking.
Generally, the eyes of nocturnal animals —like small cats— have multifocal lenses that allows them to increase contrast and depth of field in low light conditions. A circular pupil, contracting to protect the eye against bright light, would interfere with this type of structure (the iris shades the peripheral zones of the lens) leading to the loss of well-focused images. The slit pupils, therefore, may have developed in association with multifocal optical systems because more effective. 
Vice versa, big cats are generally diurnal predators and they have monofocal eyes like us. So, their pupils tend to be circular because they are an adequate adaptation to monofocal optical systems.
Asked by lorin-irenaImages credit: Felipe Santana - fPat Murray
Zoom Info
Cats’ pupils
It’s always challenging to establish with precision the reason for an evolutionary adaptation. I can answer this question with a well-supported theory, but the exceptions are not lacking.
Generally, the eyes of nocturnal animals —like small cats— have multifocal lenses that allows them to increase contrast and depth of field in low light conditions. A circular pupil, contracting to protect the eye against bright light, would interfere with this type of structure (the iris shades the peripheral zones of the lens) leading to the loss of well-focused images. The slit pupils, therefore, may have developed in association with multifocal optical systems because more effective. 
Vice versa, big cats are generally diurnal predators and they have monofocal eyes like us. So, their pupils tend to be circular because they are an adequate adaptation to monofocal optical systems.
Asked by lorin-irenaImages credit: Felipe Santana - fPat Murray
Zoom Info

Cats’ pupils

It’s always challenging to establish with precision the reason for an evolutionary adaptation. I can answer this question with a well-supported theory, but the exceptions are not lacking.

Generally, the eyes of nocturnal animals —like small cats— have multifocal lenses that allows them to increase contrast and depth of field in low light conditions. A circular pupil, contracting to protect the eye against bright light, would interfere with this type of structure (the iris shades the peripheral zones of the lens) leading to the loss of well-focused images. The slit pupils, therefore, may have developed in association with multifocal optical systems because more effective. 

Vice versa, big cats are generally diurnal predators and they have monofocal eyes like us. So, their pupils tend to be circular because they are an adequate adaptation to monofocal optical systems.

Asked by lorin-irena
Images credit: Felipe Santana - fPat Murray







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