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Small animals see in slow motion, study finds

September 20, 2013

Time doesn’t fly if you’re a fly, a new study suggests. In fact, flies excel at dodging our slaps and swats because they perceive the passage of time more slowly than we do. Animals with smaller bodies and faster metabolic rates perceive time more slowly than we do, researchers say, letting them soak up more information per second.

We tend to assume time is the same for everyone, but according to research published in the journal Animal Behaviour, it has different speeds for different species. Small-bodied animals with fast metabolic rates — whether they’re house flies or hummingbirds — perceive more information in a unit of time, the study finds, meaning they experience action more slowly than large-bodied animals with slower metabolism, including humans.

If this reminds you of a certain 1999 science-fiction movie, you’re on the right track. The study was led by scientists from Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin, which issued a press release that explains the findings with a dusty pop-culture reference: “For example, flies owe their skill at avoiding rolled-up newspapers to their ability to observe motion on finer timescales than our own eyes can achieve, allowing them to avoid the newspaper in a similar fashion to the ‘bullet time’ sequence in the popular film ‘The Matrix.”

Excerpt from an article written RUSSELL MCLENDON at MNN. Continue THERE

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