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I was just wondering......
We know how closely the maniraptors and birds are related, but does
this give us an idea of how soft tissues (other than skin) might have
looked, such as eyeballs?
I suppose that the therapods and other carnivourous dinosaurs would
have similar eye-color and construction to birds, especially since
some evidence of those eyeball-socket-bone-things have been supposed
for some species. This would mean round pupils for the most part, not
snake-like or cat-like vertical slits. (as in JP's raptors)
But what about the other dinosaur species? Do we have any clues
about eyeballs of ceratopsians like the orbital-bone-socket-thingies?
Or did saurapods have any special depth-of-field specialisations to
help them gain detailed images of their environment (being so far
above the ground and all)?
Would the herbivorous dinosaurs shown more of a
mammalian-herbivore-type eye construction? Would they have more
closely resembled birds rather than, say, cows? Mammals have gotten
fancy with pupil shapes, with equine and goat horizontal slits, cats'
vertical slits, and whales' just being plain 'ol big. Would the
dinosaur species' have shown as wide a variety of shapes, or would
they have been more limited as to shape? I'm not aware of much
variety in the shape of birds' pupils; owls and parrots both still
have round pupils.
What about inner and outer eyelids? Did dinosaurs blink? Did
dinosaurs blink twice? Snakes don't blink, but they are much more
primitive a form than a dinosaur is, and the demands on their eyeballs
aren't as important to a snake's survival as they have developed other
senses more important than sight (to a snake). Birds (some) have
inner eyelids for whatever reason. Is this an extremely advanced
trait? How likely would it be for a dinosaur to have the same needs
for an inner eyelid as a bird?
I am assuming that the eyeballs would be colorful, as birds and
reptiles share colorful pupils as a trait, but I've noticed that
reptiles (especially the carnivorous ones) blend eye color in with
their camouflage patterns, while birds tend to have eyeballs colored
for display. Which would be more likely for dinosaurs?
(I've been very fond of using eye-stripes in my recreations of T rex
and other therapods-a very widely used adaptation of camouflage found
throughout the animal kingdom: cheetahs use 'em, tropical fish, hawks,
snakes, and South American aboriginal hunters (though these are
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