Perception drives the evolution of observable traits

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Science  06 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6320, pp. 25-26
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal4193

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The phrase “perception is reality” is used in many contexts but is often not true. For example, human inability to perceive ultraviolet light does not negate its reality. Nevertheless, perception can cause reality to evolve. This is the insight of the study by Nachev et al. on page 75 of this issue (1). The authors integrated field and laboratory experiments with computer simulations to explain how perceptual mechanisms in a pollinator—a bat—can cause the evolution of counterintuitive traits in flowers.