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back to article Reindeer can see in ultraviolet, say boffins

Reindeer can see much further into the ultraviolet than humans can, according to new research. This is thought to offer the antler-sporting capreolines several important arctic survival abilities. "We discovered that reindeer can not only see ultraviolet light but they can also make sense of the image to find food and stay safe …

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Jobs Halo

Big deal

I can see in UV and it never stopped me eating yellow snow.

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Coffee/keyboard

Splutter!

"The ability to avoid eating the yellow snow even in dim lighting certainly seems worthwhile on its own."

Laugh-out-loud line-of-the-week :)

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Pint

Reindeer Actually Need...

...to eat yellow snow in order to obtain necessary minerals.

This attracts them to Human habitations, and probably led to their early domestication.

Homemade yellow snow: Crushed ice + beer.

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Coat

Several Years From Now:

US border patrols deploy trained Reindeer to spot people hiding in invisible sheds......

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Interestingly,

It is the lens in the human eye which absorbs UV light, which is also why it is damaging to the eye. People who have had an operation to replace a defective lens with a synthetic one can see in UV, like this guy:

http://starklab.slu.edu/humanUV.htm

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Oh, and also...

...Claude Monet is purported to have had UV vision in his right eye after a cataract operation.

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Joke

But what about red?

Can they also see well at the red end of the spectrum, such as glowing noses?

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tas

Not necessarily a joke

I wonder if reindeer visual spectrum is shifted upwards towards the higher frequencies, including UV, but cutting off the lower frequencies, i.e. redness, or is it actually broader than the normal human spectrum?

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Joke

"Journal of Experimental Biology"

One of Dr Moreau's favourites I presume.

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Coat

You forgot...

... that such nocturnal vision would also help those reindeer tasked with the important job of drawing Santa's sleigh...!

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Boffin

More than just drawing the sleigh...

They should be able to weld repairs on the sleigh without needing welding goggles / masks!

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M7S
Bronze badge

Human UV Perception

I was told by my physics teacher at school that pilots in WW2 who had burn injuries requiring an artificial lens as replacement were able to see in UV as there was no water in the lens. They were then apparently deployed on nighttime coastal watch duties.

I've no reason to doubt this other than an ophthalomic surgeon I know know nothing of this history and I'd have thought that there would be other examples by now if true.

Unless we're meant to be keeping it a secret

Oh darn.....

Could be a career-enhancing bit of surgery for military types (ranging from SF to drivers and pilots) and spooks, although probably there are some downsides too.

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Bronze badge

almost correct

As mentioned above, it is a recognised consequence of surgery to the lens or capsule of the eye - for instance, cataract surgery - that the person can see an enlarged spectrum which may extend into both IR and UV, as there are natural filters built into the front of the eye.

I am aware of anecdotal evidence from a lady who had cataract surgery who sees colours on flowers that are not visible to other people, and it is now accepted that the artist Claude Monet experienced the same thing.

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Coat

Rudolf

See. The story of Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer is really true. His nose was a UV emitter thus enhancing his fog-vision.

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Anonymous Coward

but...

If it's a UV emitter his nose should be blue?

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Happy

+1

see title

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Joke

" His nose was a UV emitter thus enhancing his fog-vision."

Well...actually it had to be an IR (infrared) emitter, if his name is Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Otherwise, he would be known as Rudolf the Violet-Nosed Reindeer...and that would just completely screwup the song...and really confuse everyone during the Holidays.

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Guy Fawkes Icon?!?!?!?!?

HOW????

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Badgers

It's because reindeer are steely-eyed heartless bastards.

Lee Marvin: "Snow can burn your eyes, but only love can make you cry"

(Reindeer: "Like Heck it will, you lamer")

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Paris Hilton

Unsympathetic character traits in reindeer

Indeed, it's well documented that reindeer are fickle bastards: first they laugh at poor Rudolph and call him names, then after Santa puts him on point, suddenly they all love him and shout with glee.

So, no I wouldn't have one as a friend - might make a nice stew though.

Paris - now she would make a good friend - a best friend even.

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous Icon

img src="/Design/graphics/icons/comment/anonymous_48.png"

Maybe it's automatic for AC?

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Anonymous Coward

Yellow snow

I heard that reindeer are very keen on magic mushrooms (that's what makes them fly of course...). They eat the yellow snow excreted by other reindeer that have been on the mushrooms because the urine contains the hallucinogens.

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