This Woman Can See 99 Million More Colors Than You
June 21, 2012 3 Comments
DigitalJournal-”Newcastle University neuroscientist Dr. Gabriele Jordan, recently announced that she has identified a woman who is a “tetrachromat,” that is, a woman with the ability to see much greater color depth than the ordinary person.
According to Daily Mail, an ordinary person can perceive a million different hues of colors. The power to distinguish the hues comes from cells in our eyes called cones. In the average person, there are three types of cones each of which is triggered by different wavelengths of light. Discover Magazine explains that most people have three types of cones, and are said to be “trichromats.” Color blind individuals have only two types of cones and they are said to be “dichromats.” Almost all animals, including dogs and New World Monkeys are dichromats. However, scientists have long believed that there are people with four cones who can see a wider range of colors than most of us can detect. These persons are called “tetrachromats,” and can see a hundred million colors. From the perspective of such people, the hues familiar to trichromats fracture further into more subtle shades of differences that have not been given names since most of us are trichromats who cannot see these shades and name them.”
After 20 years of searching, Dr. Jordan was able to find a tetrachromat two years ago. Although this is the first actual person to be identified by science as a tetrachromat, the researchers believe there are others to be found.
The woman the researchers identified is a doctor living in northern England, and they have labeled her “subject cDa29.” No explanation for the label, but nonetheless a successful discovery for these scientists after years and years of searching for one of these individuals.
What I would like to know is, how much different/detailed does the entire world look when you can see 99 million more colors than everyone else? Does this enhanced vision have any kind of specific benefit, such as being able to perceive things everyone else can’t? While impossible to gain a first hand experience of what being a tetrachromat might be like, we can be assured that their world looks a lot more vivid than we can consciously imagine.