Chickens See Things You Can’t

I love chicken soup, chicken wings, chicken eggs… but can chicken eye’s help us understand a new state of matter? Check out the article on ScienceDaily by clicking here!

Researchers from Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis  studied the light-sensitive cells known as cones that are in the eyes of chickens and most other birds active in daytime. These birds have four types of cones for color — violet, blue, green and red — and one type for detecting light levels, and each cone type is a different size. The cones are packed into a single epithelial, or tissue, layer called the retina. Yet, they are not arranged in the usual way, the researchers report.

They report that the unusual arrangement of cells in a chicken’s eye constitutes the first known biological occurrence of a potentially new state of matter known as “disordered hyperuniformity.” This new state of matter has been shown to have unique physical properties.

They have a “hidden order” that allows them to behave like crystal and liquid states of matter, they exhibit order over large distance and disorder over small distances.

This discovery from chicken’s eyes may help create advanced materials such as self-organizing colloids, or optics that can transmit light with the efficiency of a crystal and the flexibility of a liquid.

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2 thoughts on “Chickens See Things You Can’t

  1. Hi Sarah, this was a fascinating blog post. Thank you for sharing. I’m not sure I understood correctly but does that mean chickens have great long distance sight but not so good at a shorter distances? Do their eyes adjust to allow them to see clearly? Also. Why is it then, (would you know) that chickens have such poor sight at night? Fascinating subject.

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