Ungulates are a group of large mammals that are distinguishable from other animals due
to their presence of hooves. They are very popular among people and are well-known. These
animals include horses, camels, cows, sheep, goats, deer, hippos, rhinos, antelopes, and many
more. Besides their economic competence, ungulates are well known and recognized for their
vision abilities, which are quite spectacular and phenomenon (Yeates & McGreevy, 2018).
Despite being mammals, ungulates have different vision capabilities as compared to other
animals and humans. The field of view of a human being is limited to 180 degrees due to the
acute placement of the eyes, which are at the front side of the head. This is not the case for
ungulates since the placement of their eyes gives them a full field of view of 280 degrees 80
degrees short of having a complete 360 degrees field of view. Having eyes placed at the side of
their heads gives ungulates an advantage for gaining a full field of view. This field of view might
seem to be high, but it’s not the highest in the animal kingdom. Animals like the chameleon and
dragonfly have a complete 360 degrees field of view.
Vision in humans is the most acute since its eye centered, thus allowing focus on details
directly ahead of the face. This is in contradiction with the ungulates for their vision that can be
termed as seeing the bigger picture. The best vision for ungulates is across the horizons where,
for the wild animals, predators come from and for domestic animals where danger is likely to
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emanate. Ungulates rarely need to focus upwards as no threat is expected to approach from the
sky. The advantage of having a full field of view comes with a slight defect for the ungulates.
There is reduced visual acuity, which is placed at about 20/40 (Yeates & McGreevy, 2018). This
does not, however, mean that ungulates have a poor vision when it comes to clarity. The
difference is the sampling and focuses to gain clarity on a locked intended picture takes more
time due to their low-density detectors. In the anatomy spectrum of ungulates, their pupil is
elliptical rather than round and is oriented horizontally. During the vision, ungulates are most
likely to ignore fine details due to their lack of focus.
Ungulates have dichromatic vision, unlike humans who are trichromats who see red,
yellow, and blue as well as white, black, and some shades of gray. The dichromatic vision of
ungulates enables them to see only yellow and blue (along with white, black, and some shades of
grey) (Newhouse, 2018). Ungulates can distinguish an orange color for all they see is shades of
grey. However, orange color can be broken by vegetation patterns, and there is more clarity on
the actual color the ungulate can see. Ungulates have an outstanding 1000 times better view of
the blue end of the spectrum compared to humans. These ungulates can pick up Ultraviolet light
(UV) with so much ease. Ungulates can be said to suffer from red-green color blindness
The vision of ungulates is purposely meant to adapt and match the environment of
predatorial nature, where every detail counts, becoming a matter of life and death. For this
reason, ungulates are more sensitive to changes in coarser parts of an environment, which makes
it easy for them to sight and pick up a predator approaching from the horizon. With an assisted
wide field of view, ungulates can escape predator capture by having a high level of sensitivity
(Yeates & McGreevy, 2018). An ungulate can notice the coarse details that are going to produce
camouflage rather than seeing the camouflage itself.
Research intended to determine the spectral sensitivity was carried out, and a pig was
used as the subject of the study. It was noticed in the results of the test that the pig was more
sensitive to rapidly alternating lights hence making it its spectral sensitivity to be high in noticing
a coarse change of an environment. After calculation obtained from the research, the wavelength
at which the pig, a representation of the ungulates, was able to maintain normal vision was
approximated to be 450nm (Found, 2016). There is a conclusion that a pig’s eye has an
adaptation in maximum absorption of middle-to-long wavelengths. This conclusion is based on
the absence of differential chromatic conditions of adaptation and the excellent fit of a spectra
figment to a standard curve for a single cone pigment (Yeates & McGreevy, 2018). Therefore,
the single cone pigment was responsible for the maximum absorption of the long and middle
Although there is evidence for the presence of short-wavelength visibility in ungulates’
eyes is active, the spectral location is less evidently specified than that of extended visibility. Of
all the ungulates which have been to date, all of them have the photopigment basis of
dichromatic color vision (Found, 2016). However, there is a difference in the spectral tuning of
their cone pigments. Those differences are a representation of the different visual requirements
of different species. Ungulates are also limited in their sight capability of seeing the red color
part of the spectrum.
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Found, R. (2017). Lateral posture biases, habituation, and risk monitoring by wild
ungulates. Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, 22(5), 521-540.
Yeates, J., & McGreevy, P. (2018). Ungulates (Ungulata). Companion Animal Care and
Welfare: The UFAW Companion Animal Handbook, 249-265. Found, R. (2017). Lateral
posture biases, habituation, and risk monitoring by wild ungulates. Laterality:
Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, 22(5), 521-540.