Through the eye of a whale

Sperm Whale Portrait 0321 (Enigma), 2009. (© Bryant Austin/studio: cosmos) / via The Atlantic

I really enjoyed this article about eyes and whales and consciousness and…. well, who can resist stuff like this:

I asked Peichl and Johnsen to speculate on what it might be like to have an eye on either side of your head, dual monocular vision.

“Perhaps the two eyes get very different parts of the visual field and environment. I don’t know how they integrate that,” Peichl said. “Usually in the brain… there is a high connectivity that connects the two hemispheres and makes that into a perceptual unity of just one continuous visual field. Something like that probably also exists in whales because they have to have some kind of perceptive unit of their environment, a unitary percept of their environment.”

And Johnsen: “They have two completely independent fields of view. God knows what they do with that. The internal perception, how do they represent that? Is it like two screens in their head? Do they stick it together? We don’t deal with that because we don’t have a region of our field of view that’s like that,” he said. “For all we know, they represent sonar information as vision. We think they hear a bunch of clicks, but for all we know, it is represented in a visual spatial form in their heads.”

Read it here, and marvel.

Through the eye of a whale