Science: Face of the Future

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"I even believe that in the course of countless ages the two human eyes will come closer and closer together, the bridge of the nose will further diminish and sink (just as the animal snout, ' man's line of descent, has been doing for aeons of time) and finally that man's two eyes will again become one—just one large, central, cyclopean eye. It is likely that the merely servient (left) eye will shrink away (as the pineal eye has already done) so that the right eye will become the cyclopean. Certain it is that the left eye, even today, is being used less and less continually. Man's binocular and stereoscopic visions are being destroyed—the price he pays for his speech center. The great cyclopean eye, however, will regain stereoscopic vision by developing two maculae [spots of sharpest vision] in the one eye, just in the fashion in which many birds have stereoscopic vision in each eye now. Although the field of view will then be narrower than now the eye will probably be both microscopic and telescopic; it will be exceedingly acute for colors, for motion, and for form; and, finally, most important of all, it will probably be able to perceive as light many forms of energy which now produce in human eyes no sort or kind of perception.

"Yes, in distant centuries or millenaries man will be a Cyclops, a Polyphemus, a being with one eye only. That eye, however, will not be situated in the centre of the forehead. It will stand instead in the centre of the face. The forehead will be much higher and the face below-the-forehead much shorter, and, at the horizontal boundary between the two, in the centre of that boundary, the spot where now the bridge of the nose appears, there will stand the one great eye."

Phi Beta Kappas, in whose learned magazine The American Scholar this description of a future face appeared this week. know Dr. Thomas Hall Shastid of Duluth. as a serious, prodigious eye specialist, lawyer, novelist, translator, editor, inventor, pacifist.* His pastime is to visit zoos with an ophthalmoscope with which he peers into the eyes of fish, birds, snakes and beasts. Doing likewise, remarks he in his Phi Beta Kappa article, "will prove an event in the lives of most scientists. Nor, strange to say, are very many animals averse to the use on their eyes of that instrument of investigation [the ophthalmoscope]. Some indeed, particularly birds, are promptly hypnotized by its light and become quite tractable, cooing and cooing with great affection during all the exploration of the interior of their eyes."

By this means inquisitive Dr. Shastid has observed, although all the observations are not unique with him, that fish are all short-sighted "because even in the best-lighted water no eyes can see very far," that all fish eyes are flat in front, that "fish are about all color blind" and can distinguish the colors of gay bait "only as various shades of grey, precisely as a color-blind person would." that fish can scarcely see anything below the level of their heads, that the pupils of fish eyes are almost always round, but never oval, that fish pupils contract only a little in strong light, that fish have no eyelids and no tears.

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