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Binocular Vision Of Myotragus Balearicus

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Have you ever been to a zoo? If you stroll to the zoo, you will see a lot of animals but, do you observe enough? If you have a closer look, you will notice that different animals have different placement of eyes depending on their eyes’ functions. Mark Changizi (2008) proposed that forward-facing eyes allowed our ancestors to see through the dense leaves and branches in their forest habitat which is related to clutter problems in the visions. The clutter problem is not so beneficial to large-bodied animals in forests but for smaller animals, they will have less clutter because their heads are small enough to see in between branches and leaves.

As we all know, terrestrial herbivores are animals that live on land and only eat plants and they have their eyes on both sides of their heads. Most terrestrial herbivores have the monocular vision because they are the prey, which they use their vision as a defense mechanism or to search for food. On the other hand, binocular vision tend belongs to predator as they use their vision to search for their prey because binocular vision has wider area of vision and more sharp.

The history of how Myotragus balearicus was found is when Bate went to Majorca to search for dwarf hippopotamesus and elephants but unfortunately she failed in finding them. Instead, she found remains of strange goat with ever growing rodent-like incisors. She named it Myotragus balearicus, literally the mouse goat of the Balearics. Kopper and Waldren (1967) claimed that Myotragus would show clear sign of domestication. Therefore, human and these bovids have been contemporaneous with each other. However, despite their claims, association of human remains and Myotragus at Muleta Cave (about 7230 years ago) and at rock shelter Son Matge cannot be confirmed. After all the analysis, they all come into a conclusion that Myotragus was an animal that frequently sheltered in caves and rock shelters, previously hinted at by Bate (1909), a quite normal behavior for ruminant.

On the other hand, the extinction of Myotragus probably was not caused by a climatic change but was due to human colonization of the islands. The human activity may be hunting or human-induced changes to its habitat. The latter cause is suggested by relatively sudden replacement of Buxus balearicus woods by Olea europaea maquis shrubland around the time of the first human arrived at that island. Based on direct dating of the Myotragus bines, its extinction on Majorca and Carebra is estimated 5700 years ago and Minorca 5970 years ago. Despite earlier claims, there is no reliable evidence for the presence of Myotragus in the human layers get Majorca. This indicates by the time of 4000 years ago, the line age had already gone extinct, same goes to Minorca. Carebra was not inhabitant before the Ounic times (23 000 years ago), and therefore not have played any role in Myotragus extinction. Given the lack of evidence for an overlap of coexistence of humans and Myotragus, in combination with the restricted mobility and the assumed tameness of the latter, it is possible to think of a very rapid extinction following the arrival of humans, leaving no archaeological record.

As for now, scientists are currently researching for why the Myotragus balearicus have binocular vision because their eyes were placed at the front, although goats are generally known belong to the prey group because majority of goats had their eyes at both sides of their head. Thus, this thesis will discuss why terrestrial herbivores have their eyes located on both sides of their head and why Myotragus balearicus did not have them placed in that way.

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