A pessimistic estimate of the time required for an eye to evolve

  title={A pessimistic estimate of the time required for an eye to evolve},
  author={Dan-Eric Nilsson and Susanne Pelger},
  journal={Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences},
  pages={53 - 58}
  • D. Nilsson, S. Pelger
  • Published 22 April 1994
  • Geography, Medicine
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
Theoretical considerations of eye design allow us to find routes along which the optical structures of eyes may have evolved. If selection constantly favours an increase in the amount of detectable spatial information, a light-sensitive patch will gradually turn into a focused lens eye through continuous small improvements of design. An upper limit for the number of generations required for the complete transformation can be calculated with a minimum of assumptions. Even with a consistently… Expand

Figures and Topics from this paper

Anatomical and Functional Diversity of Animal Eyes
Publisher Summary Looking at different eyes, it is tempting to be judgmental and to label different designs as better or worse. However, it is important to understand that the elaboration of an eyeExpand
On the origin of optics
Abstract The first optical devices in animals evolved in the Cambrian period. The first reflector known dates from around 508 million years ago (Ma); the first eyes with lenses evolved at around 521Expand
Evolution of Biological Eye in Computer Simulation
  • N. Vaughan
  • Computer Science
  • 2019 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC)
  • 2019
The developed simulated eye model demonstrates that the requirement to detect the direction of an approaching predator does produce a gradual evolutionary transition from a flat light sensitive surface to the pinhole camera eye which models how eyes evolved in biological creatures. Expand
Eyes: Variety, Development and Evolution
  • R. Fernald
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Brain, Behavior and Evolution
  • 2004
The selective advantages of using light as a source of information are reflected in the diverse types of extant eyes, and specific genes and their products are used repeatedly, making causal relationships more difficult to discern. Expand
Vision in nature through GRIN media: smart optical design
  • A. Goncharov
  • Computer Science, Engineering
  • Optical Engineering + Applications
  • 2020
The role of the GRIN structure in the lens will be closely examined using optical models with ray-tracing and the overview of various solutions in nature for clear vision is presented and discussed with the emphasis on the optical design. Expand
Eye evolution simulation with a genetic algorithm based on the hypothesis of Nilsson and Pelger
This work addresses for the first time the simulation of the evolution of an elemental eye by means of a simple genetic algorithm and shows how eye evolution could take place gradually applying the principle of natural selection. Expand
Superior to one of Glass: Natural Gradient index Lenses via Patchy Particle Self-Assembly
To achieve acute and sensitive vision in a camera-like eye in the ocean, a graded refractive index spherical lens is required to maximize the photon flux on the retina, while leaving an eye structureExpand
The evolution of lenses
  • M. Land
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Ophthalmic & physiological optics : the journal of the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians
  • 2012
The spiders are the only other group to make use of a single cornea as the optical system in their main eyes, and some of these – the salticids – have evolved a remarkable system based on image scanning. Expand
The evolution of eyes and visually guided behaviour
  • D. Nilsson
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2009
It is suggested that a corresponding evolutionary sequence is suggested, starting at non-directional monitoring of ambient luminance and leading to comparisons of luminances within a scene, first by a scanning mode and later by parallel spatial channels in imaging eyes. Expand
Evolving eyes.
  • R. Fernald
  • Medicine
  • The International journal of developmental biology
  • 2004
This collection of observations strongly suggests that eyes have had multiple origins with remarkable convergence due to physics and molecular conservation of the opsin protein. Expand


From cornea to retinal image in invertebrate eyes
  • D. Nilsson
  • Medicine, Computer Science
  • Trends in Neurosciences
  • 1990
The pinhole camera, the Keplerian and Galilean telescopes, the corner reflector, optical fibres, and interference filters, are all names of optical devices invented by man that now appears to exist in various combinations in the optics of invertebrate eyes. Expand
Information capacity of eyes
Anatomical and psychophysical data are consistent with the hypothesis that the human retina maximizes the reconstruction of different pictures over the range in luminance required for day and night vision. Expand
Optimization, Constraint, and History in the Evolution of Eyes
  • T. Goldsmith
  • Biology, Medicine
  • The Quarterly Review of Biology
  • 1990
Several features of the evolution of eyes and photoreceptors are examined in an effort to explore the relative roles of adaptation and historical and developmental constraints. Optical design showsExpand
The optical system of fishes
This chapter will discuss two major features of fish visual systems: optics, which is the collection of light and formation of an image by the lens, and accommodation,Which is the focusing of images on the retina. Expand
The evolution of eyes.
This review of the diversity of eye types and their optical evolution suggests that once suitable biochemical solutions are found, they are retained, even though their "packaging" varies greatly. Expand
Solutions of two optical problems
The first problem is to find the spherically symmetrical distribution of refractive index inside a sphere (the refractive index outside being uniform ) that brings rays starting from a given externalExpand
Physics of Vision in Compound Eyes
Invertebrates are the class par excellence where one finds all manner of variations in the structure and arrangement of photoreceptors and their associated light-gathering and processing structures.Expand
The Vertebrate Eye and Its Adaptive Radiation.
The new Conductivity Bridge derives its bridge source. voltage from a self-contained vacuum tube oscilltor adjusted to approximately 1,000 cycles. Voltage for the amplifier and null indicator tubesExpand
On the origin of the species by means of natural selection
One of the few revolutionary works of science that is engrossingly readable, "The Origin of Species" not only launched the science of modern biology but also has influenced virtually all subsequent literary, philosophical, and religious thinking. Expand
Genetic Variation and Phenotypic Evolution During Allopatric Speciation
  • R. Lande
  • Biology
  • The American Naturalist
  • 1980
It is concluded that Mayr's theory of allopatric speciation overemphasized both the genetic cohesion of widespread species and the founder effect on heterozygosity and quantitative genetic variation, and data on the strength of natural selection and the spontaneous mutability of quantitative characters provide a feasible microevolutionary mechanism for substantial and geologically rapid phenotypic evolution in small isolated populations. Expand