3D Glasses Work On Cuttlefish And It's Adorable
Every so often, scientists grace the undeserving public with an experiment seemingly designed solely to make us giggle in delight. Without any further ado, Cuttlefish Wearing 3D Glasses:
A group of scientists from the University of Minnesota wanted to examine the depth perception abilities of cuttlefish, because they have some pretty fascinating eyes -- with a wavy blip in the middle that allows them to see both behind and in front of them at the same time. Depth perception is one of the key traits that cuttlefish have evolved, so what better way to test that than with 3D glasses?
They did run into a few speed bumps in the process: The cuttlefish, like most humans, weren't fans of the 3D glasses. Look at the poor little guys in their tragically uncool eyewear -- at least with people, they make the 3D glasses proportional. Apparently there were other, presumably sleeker designs, but they didn't work because they'd float off if the cuttlefish swam backwards. Initial attempts to glue the glasses straight on the cuttlefish (yikes!) led to skin damage, and the scientists solved this by instead gluing little velcro strips (double yikes!) to both their heads and the glasses, so that they could strap them on.
After that whole painful process, it was off to the movies! Cuttlefish love to snack on shrimp, and the way they catch them is by swimming forward and backward to adjust for distance, then launching their tentacles at prey from just the right spot. Scientists weren't sure if the cuttlefish would do this for the 3D animated shrimp in their little movie, but they totally did. They fell for it like a 6 year old reaching out for the cheap effects in Spy Kids 3-D. The cuttlefish adjusted their distance, they launched their tentacles, and even though they came up empty-handed, they proved that scientists were at least on the right track.
Actually, this was not the first time researchers toyed around with 3D glasses to test depth perception in animals that see differently from us -- they got some praying mantises to wear them a couple years ago. Now that we've established they can see 3D movies, the next logical step is getting them high first to see if they can actually enjoy 3D movies.