Perception is at least as crucial a characteristic of animals as is locomotion, for an animal must perceive its environment in order to survive. Different kinds of animals usually have different perceptual organs specialized to their particular habitats. Some animals live in the air more than upon the ground; some prefer bright light while others tend to live more or less in darkness. The faculties of sense organs can be determined, with relative ease, by studying their structures. However, it is hard to ascertain how animals actually interpret perceptual information--even for those animals with rather simple sense organs, perceptual processes are diverse and complex [Smythe1975]. For example, birds are known to recognize their mates by the coloration of their feathers, but when such features are absent they are still able to recognize mates by studying the behavior and the dancing and posturing which may be associated with courtship.
|Xiaoyuan Tu||January 1996|