4th February 2005 at 00:00
Look at photos of animals that hunt (including humans) and those that are hunted, and compare the position of the eyes. Link this to the need to see over a wide area (prey) or to focus and judge distance (predators). Get pupils to experiment by closing the left eye, then, with the right eye open, stretch out the right hand at shoulder level and move it horizontally, recording when the hand can be seen and when it cannot.

Repeat with the left handeye. Look into the life history of the red fox. A straightforward summary with pictures is to be found at

Discuss the effect of the overlap of the field of vision on the way we work out how far an object is from us. Most science books contain other simple experiments you can do on binocular vision.

Dogs, foxes and jackals are three groups in the family Canidae. The way humans have exploited dogs through selective breeding links with work on evolution and selection. Consider the way breeding has produced dogs for speed (greyhounds) or for helping to bring back prey (the "soft-mouthed" retrievers), and the Pekinese and bulldog where breeding has resulted in deformed teeth, jaws and breathing passages. See educationdarwin and and look for "dogs".

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