Image credit: Jung Hsuan/Shutterstock
By Fiona MacDonald
Scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia have discovered that mantis shrimp have an incredibly useful ability – the marine creatures are able to see a variety of cancers inside our bodies. And they’ve now replicated that ability in a camera that could eventually be put into a smartphone.
Mantis shrimp can see cancer, and the activity of our neurons, because they have unique eyes, known as compound eyes. This type of eye is superbly tuned to detect polarised light – a type of light that reflects differently off different types of tissue, including cancerous or healthy tissue.
“Humans can’t see this, but a mantis shrimp could walk up to it and hit it,” said Justin Marshall from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland in a press release.
“We see colour with hues and shades, and objects that contrast – a red apple in a green tree for example – but our research is revealing a number of animals that use polarised light to detect and discriminate between objects.”
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