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Dublin: 25 °C Monday 23 July, 2018

Here's why flies can avoid being swatted and a T-rex might not see you sneak by

New research led by scientists at Trinity College Dublin has shown that animals’ ability to perceive time is linked to their pace of life.

Image: Fly swatting image via Shutterstock

NEW RESEARCH LED by scientists at Trinity College Dublin has shown that animals’ ability to perceive time is linked to their pace of life.

The rate at which time is perceived by different animals varies and the study found that small-bodied animals with fast metabolic rates such as some birds, experience time more slowly as they perceive more information in a unit of time.

Flies owe their skill at avoiding a rolled up newspaper to their ability to observe motion on a finer timescale than our own eyes can achieve. Researchers said this allows them to avoid the newspaper in a similar way to the ‘bullet time’ sequence in The Matrix.

(Video: losttrackuk/YouTube)

On the other side of things, the study shows that animals that are bigger than us are likely to miss small movements with animals like large turtles experiencing time more quickly than smaller ones.

It also validates the ‘don’t move’ mentality of the characters in Jurassic Park as this guy would have had trouble noticing small changes:


(Image: Elaine Thompson/AP/PA)

Even in humans, the study says athletes in various spports have also been shown to quicken their eyes’ ability to track moving balls during games.

“I think for things like sports, if we understood the process a bit more we might be able to do a visual test to identify people who might make better goalkeepers or batters in baseball,” Dr Andrew Jackson, Assistant Professor at the School of Natural Resources at Trinity told “It might also explain why, when faced with imminent danger, we have the feeling of things moving in slow motion – the brain can tamp itself up to improve the chances of survival.”

Jackson said that doing things like playing computer games might help to speed up our eyes but most of the tests on humans in this area have been done with drugs and various stimulants.

Read the full study here.

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