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Monkey Opsins

By Peter White1, Alexa Warwick1, Louise Mead2, Merle Heidemann1, Jim Smith1

1. Michigan State University 2. BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action

This case will examine the evolution of trichromatic vision in old world monkeys.

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group Evo-Ed

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Version 1.0 - published on 09 Feb 2018 doi:10.25334/Q4HD51 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms


Humans have trichromatic vision. Our eyes detect colors in the visible range of the spectrum using three different cone cell types, each maximally stimulated by a different wavelength of light. Some humans are colorblind, meaning that their eyes detect colors in a more limited region of the spectrum using only one or two different types of cone cell.

Color vision capabilities in the world’s two major groups of monkey species are patterned in the same way. Generally, monkey species from Africa, Europe and Asia (the old world monkeys) have trichromatic vision, whereas monkey found in South and Central America (the new world monkeys) have dichromatic vision.

This case will examine the evolution of trichromatic vision in old world monkeys.


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