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Thursday, 2 February 2012
Is this boy born with night vision the next step in human evolution?
A blue-eyed Chinese boy born with cat-like night vision may offer clues to the future of human evolution.
When Nong Yongsui was two-months-old his father, Nong Shihua, was told by doctors not to worry about his son’s unique blue eyes and that his eyes would be fine when he grew up; now, years later, Yongsui’s father, teacher and doctors are convinced the young boy’s eyes have given him a special ability — night vision.
“In the dark Nong’s eyes would emit a kind of blue-green light when shone upon by a flash light — his eyes were just like cat eyes.”
A Chinese news reel, now available on YouTube, claims that Yongsui’s rare blue eyes glow green when light hits them and allow him to see in the dark as clearly as most people do during the day, an attribute prompting some to call him the next step in human evolution.
The video originally surfaced in 2009 but has just recently gained international attention. The video reports that Yongsui began experiencing blurred vision in daylight, having to squint when playing outside during the day but able to catch crickets at night without needing a flashlight. Bi Donglei, from the Heng County Television Station in Guangxi also claims that Yongsui was able to answer questions she handed him in the dark.
The lack of any definitive evidence has left many skeptical of Yongsui’s abilities. Night vision is made possible in nocturnal animals, such as cats, by a thin layer of cells called the tapetum lucidum. These cells create a “retroreflector” — when a beam of light hits the tapetum, it is reflected directly back along its path. This process amplifies incoming light allowing the animal to see at night, it is also the reason that cat’s eyes flash when they are illuminated.
While many are calling Yongsui’s eyes “cat-like” experts aren’t so sure. “Evolutionarily, mutations can result in differences that allow for new environmental niche exploitation. But such mutations are modified over long periods. A functional tapetum in a human would be just as absurd as a human born with wings. It can’t happen,” said James Reynolds, a pediatric ophthalmologist at State University of New York.
The Alien Disclosure Group, an extraterrestrial and paranormal organization, has offered some different theories, “Could Nong Yongsui be a Hybrid or Starchild? A new and growing generation of extraordinary and gifted children are springing up across our planet, is the human species evolving, or possibly our Extraterrestrial visitors tinkering with our DNA?”
There’s no doubt that Yongsui’s eyes are rare for his ethnicity but without further investigation into his uncommon abilities it’s impossible to know for sure what he sees and why — does he indeed have cat eyes due to a bizarre genetic mutation? Is perhaps another attribute, such as rod-rich retinas, the reason for his improved night vision? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Any readers care to weigh in on these theories or perhaps offer their own?